Parents of special needs students disagree with remote learning

Posted at 11:00 PM, Aug 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 19:15:09-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — While Omaha Public School’s decision to go fully remote was met with lots of positive feedback, parents of special needs students say they’re getting over looked during these times.

One parent started a petition, looking for a change, saying that her son is missing out on a lot since he is not in school.

“He’s always going to rely on another person for all of his care needs,” said Liz Shields, who has a 5-year-old special needs son, named Vinnie.

Vinnie, is 5, has cerebral palsy, and is blind.

“Takes a village with these kids and when you’re at home and you’re trying to take care of all their needs every day, all day during the night, there is no village there to help you,” said Shields.

That’s why Liz was looking forward to the start of the school year, so Vinnie could work with nurses and other professionals at JP Lord School in Omaha. Once OPS made the decision to go fully remote for the first quarter Liz feels like her son was overlooked.

“Using an iPad, watching things on a screen does absolutely nothing expect he can hear the sounds but as far as learning visually he can’t do that,” said Shields.

Not only is she concerned about his learning, but also the missed opportunities to work with those professionals who provide things she can’t.

“I understand the reasoning for wanting schools closed or wanting to learn remotely however that doesn’t work for our family and a lot of families like ours,” said Shields.

Liz started an online petition saying ops needs to provide a different option than remote learning for kids with special needs, and other parents feel the same way.

“Therapists at the school that help her on a daily basis she learns things that I can’t teach her I can try my hardest but it’s not as good as they can,” said Darian Debe, who has a five-year-old special needs daughter who attends Pawnee Elementary.

She also says OPS needs to offer more options.

“If they offer to bring someone into the home maybe twice a week or three times a week to work on the therapies that they would receive at school I would be completely fine with that,” said Debe.

Shields hopes that things change in the near future because she says the sooner special needs students can be back in school, the better.

“He’s missed out on a lot of education learning socialization, a lot of things that could of benefitted him,” said Shields.

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