Sue Pugliese’s daughter, Michelle, loves to give out hugs. At her school on Staten Island, this doesn’t normally cause any issues. But now, that simple act could potentially escalate to serious punitive measures. It’s a fear her mother has with the new guidelines in place in schools across New York City as students returned this week for in-person learning.
“She’s going to go to school and you’re not gonna let her hug you?” Pugliese wondered about her 19-year-old daughter with autism spectrum disorder. “She’ll have fits and they’ll be calling 911 on her daily.”
It’s the change in routine that can be most upsetting for special needs students.
Dawn Vollaro’s son, Dylan, started school this week and the biggest issue came during lunchtime.
“He could not eat in the lunchroom and that really threw him off,” Vollaro said of her third-grade son. “They got a battle out of him.”