High School Special-Needs Softball Team Hits a Homerun

Filed under: In The News

Megan Taylor, a junior at James Hubert Blake High School in Silver Spring, Md., deemed herself a "huge loner" on her eighth grade softball team.

But the teen, who has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, is now the proud captain of her high school's corollary softball team -- a team designed to include kids with special needs, the Washington Post reports.

The team, according to the newspaper, was created following a state mandate that schools help special-needs students stay active. .

Teacher and coach Derek Ritzenberg started the team last year with the hope to mix both special-needs and general-education students who had never played a school sport before, the Post reports. However, the team is currently made up of just special-needs students.

And, the team's victories aren't quite measured in wins. According to the newspaper, the team won one of five games played during the spring season, but, more importantly, the kids are having fun.

"And they get to put on a Blake uniform and represent their school, just like any other athlete. For once, they feel like they are contributing, like they are a part of the school," Ritzenberg says.

The field is not the only place that Montgomery County schools are actively trying to blend special-needs students with general education students. The Post reports that self-contained "learning centers" for special-needs kids are being phased out, and those students are being mixed into regular classes when possible.

Before this blending learning atmosphere was prevalent, about a quarter of special-needs students in Montgomery County were in learning centers. Now, only 2 percent of these students remain.

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