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Roanoke City parent of special education student talks struggles during pandemic

Roanoke City Special Education
Roanoke City Special Education(Ann Taylor)
Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 4:55 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Roanoke City School Board has not yet held a vote for the 2020-2021 school year. While all parents are feeling anxious about what the right decision is for their children, parents of children with special needs are especially apprehensive.

"I think that's probably the hardest thing. We don't want them to go backward."

Each milestone in a child's life is one to be celebrated, but when you are a parent of a child with special needs, those milestones are even more of a big deal.

Elizabeth Jones is mom to 8-year-old Will Jones, who lives with Potocki-Lupski Syndrome, which is a rare syndrome with some traits similar to Autism. When mom had to teach Will from home this past spring, it wasn’t easy.

“I am not a special education teacher; I don’t have that training,” said Jones.

She quickly realized Will needed to be in a classroom. Right now, Will is attending the Extended School Year through Roanoke City Schools, which is only a few hours a day to keep social and academic skills up throughout the summer, but Jones says she has concerns for the fall school year.

“He doesn’t understand social distancing, he doesn’t understand the mask; there are a lot of kids that have special needs, and may not be as severe, but may not like that sensory feeling,” said Jones.

No matter what the decision is, she knows it's going to be a hard one.

“Each child is different and it’s just a scary time,” said Jones.

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