‘This is crisis teaching’: students with disabilities slip through cracks as coronavirus shuts schools

Apr 6, 2020 by

Homeschooling your children amid the Covid-19 pandemic is hard. For parents whose children have a disability, its a ‘herculean task’

As her mom tells it, Sesame Street is Aubrey’s first and only love. Her affection for the program’s cast of puppets, for Elmo in particular, is so aggressive and pure that her parents have to restrict her access to it because she gets so wired after watching it she can’t function for days.

Aubrey, whose real name her parents asked be withheld to protect her privacy, is a 16-year-old student in Los Angeles. As a teenager living with autism, routine is the bedrock of her day. .

But in the days of a spiraling coronavirus crisis, predicting what comes next is all but impossible. “Think about how we are with uncertainty and multiply it by a million. For her not knowing is almost unbearable,” said her father, Pirouz Kavehpour.

Today, with 124,000 of the nation’s schools closed due to coronavirus, Kavehpour has joined the ranks of millions of parents turned into homeschool teachers overnight – no easy feat for any working parent, but especially challenging for parents whose children have disabilities.

It remains unclear when schools across the country will reopen; California officials already indicated they won’t restart this academic year and a handful of other states have closed doors until fall. And as classrooms pivot to online learning, many of the services guaranteed to the nation’s roughly 7 million children with disabilities have been effectively put on hold.

Federal law promises to give students educational services that address individual needs. But it’s unclear when children with disabilities will get the kind of face-to-face help they had been getting at school before.

Source: ‘This is crisis teaching’: students with disabilities slip through cracks as coronavirus shuts schools | World news | The Guardian

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