Parents of children with special needs considering other learning options after Chesapeake schools to remain closed

Posted at 11:44 PM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 23:52:33-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Like many students, rising sixth grader Jillian Brown will not see the inside of a classroom anytime soon.

Chesapeake Public Schools students will start the year online, a continuing challenge for many.

Jillian says her challenges are, “mostly the reading, but sometimes I get confused with the math a little bit.”

She is not your average 11-year-old.

“She has learning disorders; she’s got dyslexia and she’s got non-verbal learning disorder,” said her father, John Brown.

Her mother, Jennifer, says she learns at a slower speed.

“If she gets confused, upset or doesn’t understand, she starts to clam up. She starts to get upset, and then she starts to cry,” she adds.

Her daughter’s frustration is why she’s considering getting special help this fall.

“I think she would be willing to learn from somebody else like she does her teachers, versus us.”

She’s thinking of a tutor - someone who has the special training to work with students who have special needs.

Whitney Garnai is a licensed special education teacher in Virginia. She says social interaction and hands-on learning is important.

“Counting money - they have to have those money manipulatives, and they aren’t going to have those at home,” Garnai adds.

She also says, “Some students have social and emotional goals. That’s so important - those truly can't be addressed in a virtual setting.”

She’s concerned about what continued virtual learning will do.

“I’m afraid that this year will stunt their growth,” she adds.

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