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Parents of students with disabilities face additional challenges with school return plan

Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 8:37 PM EDT
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CLARKSBURG, W.Va (WDTV) - To keep kids on track in school through this pandemic, it has been challenging enough, and for those with special needs and disabilities, that includes additional hurdles.

Yvonne Loar, is the mother of two daughters. Her oldest daughter, Claire, has sensory processing disorder, anxiety and has been tested for ADHD. With Claire’s circumstances, remote and virtual learning options were not ideal when students were first sent home in March.

“We just kept doing things, but there was no structure,” Loar said. “I would have to stop working and then go back to working or sometimes she would need help and she would have to wait until I was done working,” she said.

Claire would usually receive speech therapy twice a week and a peer that would help keep her on task with daily learning activities, but with the lack of a structured classroom at home, Loar said it had it’s effects.

“I’m sure that her speech may have fallen off some just because they didn’t have that interaction,” she said.

Now, while considering between in-class learning or virtual, Loar said it feels like choosing between education and family safety.

“If it (COVID-19) comes into my house, there’s a very big chance it could kill my mother.”

So with much to consider, Loar wants to be able to send her daughters back to school, but she wants it to be as safe as possible. She has even attended Harrison County BOE meetings with a proposal listing suggestions.

“I’m not trained to do it (teach) and I know that there were tears on everybody’s part from moms, dads, kids because it was so hard. I almost think going back into the building has it’s advantages but you just have something that is completely unknown,” Loar said.

Julie Mancini, from the Harrison County BOE said they are working on hiring some special education teachers to work on any IEP or 504 plan issues that parents can’t do at home.

“We want to be able to get that in homes,” Mancini said.

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