Special needs students and teachers face hurdles that seem impossible

Students, parents and teachers across the country are all struggling to navigate school in the age of coronavirus.

But for special education classrooms, including students with learning differences as well as developmental and physical disabilities, the challenges are even greater — and sometimes, insurmountable.

In March, when her 10-year-old son’s school abruptly sent students home, Caren, a mom in Wayne, New Jersey, quickly realized she was in over her head. Her son Mark has cerebral palsy and a visual impairment and typically receives multiple therapies at school. Caren, a psychology professor who asked that her last name be withheld for family privacy concerns, didn’t know where to start.

special needs, special education, COVID-19 and schools (Photo by Paul Mango)
special needs, special education, COVID-19 and schools (Photo by Paul Mango)

“When we went to distance learning, I became the one-on-one (aide), I became the special education teacher, I became the speech therapist, the teacher of the visually impaired, the occupational therapist,

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