When schools close or go online, what happens to students with disabilities? (Plague, Day 19, March 22, 2020)

I’m a parent of a high school student with high functioning autism and epilepsy. As schools all around the country announce shutdowns and move towards online education, kids like mine are going to suffer the most.

The move to online education, which has been largely driven by the imperative to maintain the 180-day minimum without taxing already stretched budgets or running afoul of teachers’ contracts, will be difficult to manage. To date, nearly 42 million students. have already been impacted. Will teachers and administrators manage to create an entire system of online K-12 education from scratch in a handful of days? Do teachers have the technological skills, equipment, or experience to implement those plans? Do families have enough computers for themselves and all their children? The questions are endless.

We’re in the midst of a huge educational experiment and really have no way of knowing how it will work out.  There are even more problems and questions around online special education.  

More here.

2 thoughts on “When schools close or go online, what happens to students with disabilities? (Plague, Day 19, March 22, 2020)

  1. Thanks raising this important, tough issue–our daughter was a special needs student through HS but managed to graduate from college after 12 years and now has a full-time job.

    We in community colleges have many students who had IEPs in high school, and while we do not provide anywhere near the level of additional support that K-12 schools do, we do have writing and tutoring centers as well as developmental or co-requisite support courses for math and English. I have one of those now, in fact,.

    Our students are used to accessing tutoring face to face, and while we can manage for the writing center, other kinds of tutoring is more complicated–especially for English as a Second Language students. How all of us are going to manage is beyond me at this point.

    My wife, a periodontist, teaches in our college’s dental hygiene program, where the students have to have a certain number of hours of actual work on patients–it’s about 2/3 of their total curriculum. No one knows when they will be able to see patients again, perhaps this summer of worst case, next fall.

    One hopes for some kind of national recognition that the student population is not folks destined for what we think of as the conventional path from K-12 to college to something beyond that. The road to the middle class is paved with folks who never made it that far, alas.


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