By KAYLEE BECKER-GEORGE – Students with learning disabilities struggled at the end of last school year, so it makes sense that some were concerned about what schooling would be like this year.
Common learning disabilities include dyslexia, which affects a student’s ability to read, dysgraphia, their ability to write, and dyscalculia, their ability to do math. There is also attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD; autism, a brain disorder that can affect a person’s mental and social development, and many others.
Going into this school year, families of students with special needs were concerned about their education. According to Justin Zahorchak, the Special Programs Coordinator, “It has been incredibly important for us to ensure that students are receiving special education and related services at this time.” “Related services” include occupation therapy, physical therapy, and speech resources.
Some adjustments made for special needs students include how often they attend school. In elementary schools, students with learning disabilities attend five days a week. At the junior and senior high level, students attend four days a week, with a select few attending five days a week.
Some students have found their own ways of dealing with their conditions. Senior Dustin Miller, who was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age and is fully synchronous said, “I find ways to motivate myself, like rewarding myself when I complete an assignment.”
However, there has recently been another spike in cases, and families of children with severe disabilities, such as my family and my little brother with autism, are dreading the idea of another quarantine. Last year, when quarantine started, my brother’s entire schedule was disrupted. As a result, he started having more frequent struggles. My brother wasn’t the only person struggling.
Junior Aidan Cessna, who was diagnosed with ADHD in kindergarten, says regarding last year, “School was already hard enough for me with all the help I receive during school, so switching online meant that all of those resources were gone and I had to do everything myself.”
In regard to the question about students with learning disabilities being allowed to attend if a shutdown occurs, Mr. Zahorchak could not provide a definite answer. He said, “We’re going to do everything in our ability to continue having students with special needs attend school… However, with that being said, sometimes these decisions might not always be decided by those who are in the school district.” On November 23, it was announced that special needs students couldn’t go back until December 7, which shows the impossible situation COVID-19 has put the administration in.
Administrators, teachers, parents, and students are hoping that being able to resume school in as normal a fashion as possible awaits us in the new year.
[Photo courtesy of DiversityIs.com]
A depiction of the many things that go on in a child’s mind as they navigate the world.
Kaylee is a senior and a second-year reporter for the High Arrow. She enjoys playing video games and plays in the school marching band. She is excited to get back into writing articles for the school.