At the height of concerns over the Covid pandemic, schools shut down, and much of education shifted to an online format. All students, including special education students, experienced dramatic changes in how they learned and received their education. This was particularly difficult for California students with different learning needs, and these effects are still negatively impacting many students who need help and support in order to have a full and appropriate educational experience.
Many students fell behind
Some students who struggled to learn online simply stopped logging in and attending online classes. When schools reopened, many of these students were behind, and they may not be able to catch up. Some parents believe the state failed special education students by failing to provide necessary learning opportunities, support services and other types of assistance.
Children with disabilities have the right to a full and free education through a California school system. Studies found that disabled students experienced significant learning loss over the last few years, and they also suffered mental and emotional effects from the loss of social opportunities. Many families have had to pay out of pocket for evaluations and services that the state was slow to provide.
Fighting for educational rights
A student with special education needs may need specific types of support and help in the classroom. Those who are behind due to the pandemic may need additional help as they catch up and adjust to new learning schedules. Parents have the right to advocate for their student, including pursuing specific interventions they need, whether it is in the classroom or in online learning formats.