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Grayson schools receive grant for special needs students

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By Shaina Stockton

INDEPENDENCE — Grayson County Public Schools recently received a grant from United Way Southwest Virginia (UWSWVA) for $5000, to use in inclusive projects for students with special needs.
The grant money will be used to purchase recreational equipment that can be enjoyed by students with and without special needs in Fairview Elementary School; where they will also soon have an inclusive play area to enjoy together.
According to the UWSWVA website, the awarded grant, called the “Uniting for Play” grant, was developed to “fund programs that involve children in active play and limited screen time.”
“The grant will provide additional equipment, and enhance what we have already begun in Fairview; so it will be easier for the children who have special needs to play with students without them.,” Special Education Supervisor Doug Lawson said in a recent interview with the Declaration.
An example of the new equipment Lawson mentioned are play panels, which students can enjoy while sitting side by side.
The funds will assist an effort that is already in progress at Fairview Elementary. During the interview, Lawson discussed an ongoing project to construct a play area that is welcome and usable for all students, regardless of their needs. The project is slated for completion by the end of the school year.
“This will certainly give us something to build on, and enhance the things we already have out at Fairview. We want to continue building on that, and making it a priority,” Lawson said.
Several programs for special needs students have already started bridging the gap between traditional and special education. The school has already established several programs, some of which are also open to special needs students in Galax and Carroll County, as well.
“The extra benefit of this effort is that it will bring the children together even more,” Lawson said. “We do what we can in appreciation of students with all forms of abilities. Everyone has their own way of being intelligent and productive; and the more they work and play together, the more that becomes apparent.”
The grant award will include at $5,000 match of cash and in-kind services, according to the announcement from United Way. The organization awards a total six $5,000 grants across the Southwest Virginia service area.