This blog post reflects experiences with the fallout and lack of follow through because of the COVID-19 pandemic:
Will’s school closed in March along with the public schools (and businesses). Will attended school 3 hours a day, 4 days weekly. During his three hours at school he received all of his therapies: communication, feeding, occupational, and physical therapies. Each of these therapies were hands-on and tailored to his specific needs (IEP).
The only communication we received was a call on or about March 17th asking if Will would be coming to school that day and an email from one of his therapists saying “therapies have been suspended.” That was it.
No call from the principal.
No call from an administrator.
No call from the director of programming.
For several weeks, the school never contacted us. I learned from another parent they hadn’t received any communication either. We were shocked!
We received a generalized email with a link for a survey asking if we were interested in therapy via video.
Will and many other children requiring services have been let down by poor communication. When we asked Will’s case manager to look into the situation at Will’s school, we learned that most of the staff had been furloughed and the director of therapies had resigned.
Will was about to begin a trial for a new communication device (eye gaze technology) before the school closed. Our therapist had been furloughed, so that ended our contact with the consultant for the device. We have since asked our case manager to link us with the consultant that will supply the AAC device so we can work with Will on our own. The trial is only 4 weeks and we need a SLP to work with Will (and our family) so Will can get the most from his time with it.
•Why should Will be kept from gaining skills he needs to develop communication? All of his therapies are important, especially communication.
•Why can’t therapists continue to treat children who are disabled? These children are dependent on their knowledge and expertise. (This can be accomplished with face coverings and gloves).
If classrooms like Will’s have approximately 5 children, why haven’t they developed a plan to reintroduce programming so these special needs children can access therapies?
Who is the voice for these children?