As Annette Lambeth on Facebook amply demonstrates, a comprehensive educational system is required to ensure that all children – regardless of social background or physical and mental disability – enjoy full access to educational resources as a matter of course. Indeed, this has been her stated long-term objective ever since she launched her career in the field of education. As she points out, a study released in 2005 reported that approximately 13 percent of all children enrolled in public schools belong to the category of students who require some sort of specialized tuition owing to disability. However, isolating a statistic does not necessarily mean directly confronting the problem. Nevertheless, new methodologies, shifting perspectives, evolving technologies, and better quality resources, are slowly allowing for a better and more inclusive system. Special education teachers and administrators certainly do not have an easy task, but for many it is a passion that is highly rewarding.
Indeed, passion is the single most important reason why Annette Lambeth is making such a considerable effort to help overcome these educational barriers. The children affected may have speech or language impairments, autism, dyslexia, attention deficiency hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), emotional disturbance, and other related problems. Many disabilities exist in varying degrees of severity, so special needs education is by nature not a one size fits all. It is therefore important that individual attention and tutoring is given to each individual child, allowing teachers to have an informed awareness of the child’s abilities and requirements. Unfortunately, many children are simply deemed unintelligent, and denied the adequate focus on teaching that they deserve in accordance to their needs.
To read anything written by Annette Lambeth on making progress in the world of education is to realize that the 1975 ‘Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,’ is of crucial importance to her. The Act stipulates that children and young people from the ages of 3-21years old with disabilities are required to have access to free public school education appropriate to their needs and abilities in the United States. In essence, this means that nation-wide special education programs are supported by the federal government in order to help provide this care. Since the 1975 Education Act, the percentage of students identified as having specific learning disabilities has increased significantly. There are debates as to whether this is a result of better recognition and assessment of learning difficulties that have always existed, or whether this shows an increase of people affected over a period of time.
Annette Godfrey Lambeth, Doctor of Education, is the Executive Director of Student Support Services in the Adams 12 Five Star School District in Colorado. She has expertise supervising students from preschool to the age of 21 yeears across all aspects of the Special Education program. With her team of directors, coordinators, and specialists, she has liaised with professionals, experts, and methodologists, to provide the highest standard of teaching for students with special needs.