Calling all companies: How you can help disabled students prepare to compete

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(Courtesy: MGN Online)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Renee Scruggs knows the challenges facing disabled and special needs students.

She was an 18-year-old Oakwood University freshman when she returned home to Detroit for Christmas break. That’s where an accident on an icy street left her pinned between two cars, her legs crushed between them.

Scruggs underwent two amputations and months of grueling physical therapy before returning to Oakwood the next fall.

“Before I was a kid with a disability, I never thought about, ‘how am I going to get up this ramp?’ There were were steps? I just ran up the steps.”

Nearly four decades later, Scruggs is with Disability Staffing Services and she’s turning her attention to helping special needs students.

She says, for many of these students, there’s a gap in development programs once they reach their middle and high-school years.

According to Scruggs, there simply is not the same access to opportunities such as internships, STEM camps and job-shadowing programs.

Now, she’s reaching out to area companies to help bridge the gap.

“We need companies in our community to establish specific STEMs and career development and sports programs, and maybe artistic programs, as well.”

A sports camp is already in the works for this summer. Scruggs hopes to offer STEM camps by summer of 2017.

Opportunities that will help the students gain valuable skills, make new contacts and build their resumes.

Anyone interested in participating in these programs or supporting them, can contact Scruggs at office@getdss.net or by calling (866) 548-6468.

She also invites parents of special needs students to share their experiences – and help identify service gaps – through a survey.

Email office@dss.net for more information.

 

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