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Parents of special ed students battling regression during coronavirus pandemic

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Parents of special needs kids are asking for another pandemic approach. They claim online learning is causing their children to fall through deeper cracks. (WSYX/WTTE){ }

Parents of special needs kids are asking for another pandemic approach. They claim online learning is causing their children to fall through deeper cracks.

“Trying to do a FaceTime session with him, he’s just going to walk away from you,” mother Tiffany Arnet told Scoring Our Schools Thursday.

Her son Jacob is autistic, attends Haugland Learning Center and has sensory supports, incentive programs and visual schedules that make up his individual education plan.

“Unfortunately, that’s going to be true for a lot of students especially students with disabilities,” said Mark Weiker, an attorney specializing in education in Columbus. “Online learning is not the ideal. However, we’re not talking about an ideal situation for all students.”

He’s advising parents to ask if individual education plans can be completed remotely and if parents can help with the now home instruction.

The Ohio Department of Education has addressed the issues of special education and IEPs on its website. The state superintendent has told all school districts to act “in good faith” but has also told parents instruction may have to be made up at a later time.

“An abundance of it at once?” Arnet asked. “It’s not going to help him at all.”

Arnet is claiming an education is essential. She still wants home visits from teachers and specialists during this pandemic.

“I’d rather have a little regression then a lot,” she said.

If Arnet cannot get that home visit from her provider now, she’s asking that her son’s autism scholarship be able to fund another specialist who may be able to fit Jacob’s needs.

Weiker says all special Ed instructors now are staying home. He’s informing parents how to measure Their child’s regression to know how much instruction should be made up.

“Even if you were to have an in-person meeting with a student for one to one instruction, the stay at home order also indicates that you have to keep your social distance,” Weiker said.

The Albeit Weiker Law Firm is hosting 20-minute phone consultations Friday for parents of kids in special education. Parents can register by calling (614) 745-2001.

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