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Parents of children with special needs worried about online learning

Parents of children with special needs and disabilities are expressing concern about students restricted to on-line only learning this year.

Posted: Jul 30, 2020 6:39 PM

CHICO, Calif. - Parents of children with special needs and disabilities are expressing concern about students restricted to on-line only learning this year.

"We are here we care and we are not going anywhere," said Elaine Ward a Chico mom of a son with autism.

Chico mom Elaine Ward's son Ezra is 7 years old going into second grade at Little Chico Creek Elementary School.

Ezra was diagnosed with autism when he was 3.

"We deserve answers not just for us personality but for our child and their education deserves to have answers," said Ward. 

Ward is a part of a group called the Autism Spectrum Disorder Support Group of Butte County.

She helped write a letter to the district expressing their concerns.

"As a parent, I can only do so much for him I can teach him how to cook and do laundry and all those household responsibilities but at school, he's learning how to be around other peers he's learning how to advance his education," she said. 

Ward said she's spoken with the director of educational services at chico unified school district, Diane Olson, about some suggestions she has, like learning in an outdoor setting.

"Even if its just one on one to get him in that classroom so he doesn't forget what it's like to be in an actual classroom setting and he can actually focus on his work in school because at home and at school is completely different to him so we have to maintain some sense of normality that this is school this is what you are expected to do at school," she said.

Olson said the district is developing multiple ranges of online-accessible services that will meet the needs of students according to where they are, their disability, and their IEP or individualized education program.

Olson said there is a possibility for a waiver that the district could apply for, so that certain students can be seen face to face.

Olson said the approval process must pass through many different channels and is not guaranteed.

"The proof is in the pudding you can talk to me all you want but I want to see it I want to see what you are personally doing to make sure my child gets the education that he needs," she said.

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After a couple days of comfortably cooler than average weather around northern California, highs rose rapidly to more seasonable levels this afternoon. The warming trend will continue through the weekend, too.
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