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Student Alex Dorman, who is on the autism spectrum, needs assistance during online learning sessions, his mother says. (Photo: Sarah Dorman/Special for The Republic)

The COVID-19 outbreak, and the subsequent pivot to virtual schooling that districts around the state had to embrace, has been a universal challenge.

Families with children who have disabilities, though, say that their struggles are unique and up to this point haven’t been adequately addressed.

Six months into the pandemic, though, families may start seeing some relief.

Northern Arizona University is implementing a new program in which its education students will receive practicum credit in exchange for working with students with disabilities in-home as they attend classes virtually.

The program came at the suggestion of 42-year-old Sarah Dorman, who has an 11-year-old son. Alex is on the autism spectrum and is mostly nonverbal.

Dorman said she noticed her son was finding it more difficult to