The MU Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) is a student organization that operates under the umbrella of the national Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) organization. The national CEC promotes advocacy for students with disabilities.
SCEC holds monthly meetings where they welcome speakers on topics that would be of interest to many educators regardless of content area. SCEC is trying to get more education students involved –not just special education majors. The most recent meeting hosted a speaker who talked about bullying in the classroom.
Members of the MU SCEC volunteer throughout the community including working with children with emotional behavior disorders at Bearfield School. In one class, SCEC members help Bearfield students sell popcorn as part of a socialization exercise to interact with other students and teachers.
In the Community
SCEC at Mizzou is involved at the state level with the state chapter of CEC.
“Our state chapter of CEC is a very active chapter and we’ve been lucky because they involve all of the university chapters in the state and they actually let us have a board member on their state board,” said Dr. Erica Lembke, assistant professor in the Department of Special Education.
Each year, one member of the student chapter is chosen as a member to the state board where they get to vote on state CEC issues that affect teachers and students across the state.
Annually, SCEC sends students to the state and national conferences. They like to send as many students as they can, but in order to do that they need to have fundraisers. For the past two years, SCEC has hosted a local conference to raise both funding and awarness.
“It’s a research to practice conference. I get professors and doctoral students in special education and in school psychology and I ask them to volunteer to present on a number of topics,” Lembke said.
Teachers are invited to attend the Saturday conference. Full-time students are allowed to attend for free. The conference is designed so that teachers can take what they have learned and use it immediately. This year there were around 120 participants, up from 100 last year.
From that fundraiser, SCEC will be able to send five people to the state conference and eight people to the national conference in Nashville this year.
The organization benefits students because it is an opportunity to build leadership and knowledge. More importantly, students are able to connect with local students and teachers.
“There is a chapter of CEC in Columbia,” Lembke said. “It’s a nice chance for students to connect with those local teachers because maybe they will be working with them in the future.”
SCEC members learn about strategies from a variety of places. The organization allows for students to be more aware of how they can advocate for students with disabilities.
“It is important to know how to be respectful and how to understand more about different people,” Lembke said. “We talk so much about diversity in general and diversity on our campus, but diversity isn’t just ethnicity – diversity can also be a difference in skills too.”