In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the day-to-day challenges facing autistic people and their families. Those challenges get far more intense during disasters. And coronavirus is proving to be the biggest disaster of all.
Education experts have said that it may take months or years to fully grasp the learning loss that children have suffered from remote schooling during the pandemic. But many of the parents and guardians of the roughly 200,000 students with disabilities in New York City say they have already seen drastic damages from their children’s loss of their usual therapies, services or learning accommodations.Each school year presents myriad challenges for the thousands of parents who file for special education services. But the shift to remote learning has “exacerbated pre-existing achievement gaps” for children with disabilities, according to a recent report by the state’s comptroller’s office.
According to that report, autism is the state's fourth-largest special-ed classification, accounting for nearly 10 percent of students with IEPs.
The NYT story continues:
Nasheema Miley’s autistic, largely nonverbal son, Marcellus, was saying a few words before the pandemic, thanks to the work of speech therapists at his school in Harlem.
When classes went remote, Marcellus, 5, stopped having in-person speech therapy sessions three times a week and occupational therapy twice a week. Instead, Ms. Miley, 27, said she got a phone call once a week from both therapists.
During this time, he stopped speaking completely, she said.
Marcellus went back to school full time last fall and has started making progress again, but his mother thinks he is still behind.
The family thought about filing a complaint or lawsuit, but Ms. Miley said she is unable to afford a lawyer.