Remote Learning Poses New Challenges For Students With Disabilities

Remote Learning Poses New Challenges For Students With Disabilities

1:53pm Mar 24, 2020
Moira Ermentrout (left) gets help from her sister Reese (right) during an education lesson at home. Photo courtesy of Dania Ermentrout

School districts across North Carolina are grappling with how to educate students remotely due to the coronavirus. The shift is a real struggle for many families who have children with special needs.

Remote learning can pose bigger challenges for children with emotional or behavioral disorders and developmental disabilities. They rely on a routine and having access to physical resources available in the schools.

“The kids that are on the cusp of mastering new things and mastering new skills are the ones that I feel are really going to lose out as a result of this situation,” says Dania Ermentrout of Greensboro.

Ermentrout’s 8-year-old daughter, Moira, attends Guilford County Schools. She suffers from a rare, life-threatening disease and requires a lot of care.

Ermentrout is also a case manager with a state program that connects families with services for medically fragile children. She says she's grateful that she can work from home right now, but worries about many families who can’t do the same.

“This is going to be life-changing because the kids are kind of reeling from being away from a structured school-like environment and families don’t really have time to recreate that with other supports because it’s so difficult to try to find qualified childcare for children with special needs right now,” says Ermentrout.

Federal law requires that all students receive equal access to education. Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education offered more special education guidance for schools during the coronavirus-related closures.

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here.

*Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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