For the last year, the education system in our country has undergone a massive shift. Out of necessity, many schools across the country shut down for a time. Some still have no reopened for in person education. An entire school year was effectively lost due to trial and error while school systems figured out remote learning. Families have struggled to find techniques to work with the “new normal” while providing a decent education for their children. One aspect that many have overlooked is special education. There are many students enrolled in these programs across the nation that have struggled intensely. Parents and students are handling normal e-learning challenges along with managing additional needs for their student. Those needs include medical, developmental, and emotional support considerations. Read on to learn about the pandemic impact on special needs students.
Lack of Schedule
One of the biggest factors that a brick-and-mortar education system provides to children is a rigid structure and routine. The sudden change in that routine that came with the pandemic has thrown these families into upheaval. It has left many people trying to reestablish a process that works for their children. This disruption to the overall routine has also left some students falling behind or in some cases even regressing.
IEPs & 504 Plans
Parents of students with Individual Education Plans feel that the contract of special education for their children has fallen by the wayside. However, the federal government has not made any changes to IDEA or Section 504. This means that all the same rules apply. Your child’s school is still required to make a good faith effort to educate your child, regardless of the pandemic or any other difficulties they may face. While health and safety are important and must be accounted for, there still exists a contract between your family and the school district to provide the education for your child.
What Can Parents Do?
What this means is that some extra steps may need to be taken. Meetings to discuss your child and their education may have to take place via video conferencing software rather than face-to-face. But as long as those meetings are taking place on a regular and productive basis, then your child stands a much better chance of progressing in their education. One thing to consider as schools begin to reopen to in-person learning is if this will be the best fit for your child at this time.
If not, then you and your child’s school will need to evaluate some new methods for continuing your child’s education. As we all adapt to this new paradigm of education, new methods, systems, and ideas will emerge that will facilitate greater learning opportunities for your child. If the education system is not meeting your child’s needs, it is time to contact an attorney to protect your child and their educational rights.