PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — While students are adjusting to remote learning, students with special needs are finding it even more difficult — a worry for parents as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.
But Karin Fox, creator of the Main Line Special Needs Parents Facebook group, hopes to provide parents with an online community to help them find answers and fellow advocates.
Many are concerned about how remote learning will affect their children’s education, both in the short- and long-term.
“A lot of them can’t learn on Zoom,” said Fox. “They can’t learn virtually, they can’t sit still, or they need someone actually touching them or helping them do what it is that they need to do.”
Socialization has vanished, too.
“The socialization is gone, both in school and out, so a lot of them regress socially,” she said. “A lot of them are losing skills that they took years to develop.”
Fox advocates for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a federal law that guarantees all students are provided Free Appropriate Public Education. Sometimes schools need to be pushed, she said, to provide more support or resources for students with special needs — even though it’s the law.
That’s where the Facebook group comes in.
“When a school is saying, ‘No, we’re not going to have a meeting with you, we’ll have a meeting with you in six months’ — that’s not how the law works. You’ll have a meeting now, and you discuss it now,” she said. “Parents have to fight.”
The group offers a public discourse for questions, ideas and solutions. Parents with kids in the same school district have more success if they band together because, according to Fox, district officials tend to make each parent feel like they are the only one with that particular problem.
“We’ve had kids in our group with hearing issues, and they had to fight for months and months and months to get captioning on their Zoom,” she added.
For parents who are melting down under the stress, Fox’s message is clear: There is a community that can offer support and navigate advocacy for your child.