CHILTON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) – A Chilton County program which combines special needs students with traditional students known as “PALS” is going through some changes.
Some parents are concerned over the uncertainty with the program
Superintendent Dave Hayden says nothing is set in stone yet. However, low enrollment has the board considering consolidating three schools to one class. But the biggest blow to these parents and students, the idea the PALS program could be eliminated altogether, by taking typical students out of the class.
Zachary Guthrie whose three year old son is in the program says, “Garrett was actually crying just yesterday wanting to know why he was going to be able to see his friend next year.”
Guthrue says when his son started the PALS program he could barely take a few steps using a walker. Today he walks with just one cane, he credits garrett’s peers.
Ashley Ellison’s son Aaden is autistic. She fears changes to the pals program will hurt the progress he has made.
“They will more likely planning on letting us meet at board of education two three times a week for thirty minuntes just with one on one therapist but he wouldn’t be getting the children the sociable they wouldn’t see them.”
Guthrie and Ellison say “inclusion” is what makes PALS so special.
Right now, the program has three separate classes made up of six to eight special needs students. that’s along with the same number of typical students.