Special education in the age of COVID-19: ‘We are surviving, and in some ways even thriving’

Tammi Snedeker’s autistic son, Christian, goes to school in Derry Township School District. He’s a hands-on learner, and Snedeker said virtual learning last spring was a challenge.

“Friday night would roll around, the homework was due and we would be sitting down with just tears and screaming — trying to get at least a 75%,” Snedeker said.

Starting this fall, Christian is going to school in-person two days a week, though Snedeker said she’s pushing for his school to teach him in-person all five days.

“I’m just worried about him falling behind. He struggles to learn already, and he is extremely smart, he just, he doesn’t have the attention and the drive to do it on his own,” she said.

Students with intellectual disabilities or special needs are disproportionally affected by virtual learning because they miss out on vital socializing, skill-building and emotional growth, experts say. Consistent routine, physical touch,

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