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Parents of special needs kids raise concerns about virtual learning to start school year

St. Landry Parish School Board
Posted at 10:52 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 00:05:56-04

"Special needs kids each have different things they have to work on, but for Trevon, everything he does he has to do it visually," said Adrienne Wilson.

Parents of students with special needs have questions about how virtual learning could work for their children.

Many schools are offering some sort of virtual option, but in St. Landry Parish, it's the only option. The unconventional start to schools has some parents wondering how their children will be affected.

Like all families, back to school is taking on a new stress this year. For children with special needs, there will be more challenges.

"I would like for him to have his occupational therapy and I think he gets speech therapy as well," said parent Adrienne Wilson.

Adrienne Wilson's son, Trevon, has autism. She worries how the virtual start to school in St. Landry Parish will affect services he relies on at school.

"I was kind of wondering if they would send them out to the house to help him, or how that would go. Is it virtual help to help me to help him? I'm not sure how that would work at all and that was one of the main concerns I had for him," said Wilson.

Regardless of if school districts decide to go hybrid or virtual this semester, organizations like the D.R.E.A.M.S. Foundation of Acadiana will continue servicing kids with special needs and providing them with resources they need.

"Options are what's needed. I think if we provide that, it'll work itself on it's own," said executive director Donielle Watkins.

Watkins hopes school districts will keep all families in mind amid the pandemic.

"I hope they consider their children and treat it basically how they need to be treated. Consider the actual child, not 'let's just do all special needs this way,' because it doesn't work. They're not just cookie cutter," said Watkins.

The St. Landry Parish School Board is still finalizing its plans and how the plans relate to students with special needs.

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