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.
A release from COPAA:
As COVID-19 continues to take its toll on the education of students, 86 percent of parents of students with disabilities say their child experienced learning losses, regression or slower than expected progress; however, fewer than 1 in 5 students with disabilities has received any offer for compensatory services from their school to help the child make up the losses, according to the results of a national survey released today by the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA).
COPAA conducted the national survey in response to recent federal guidance clarifying that the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) allows the school team responsible for developing the child’s IEP – including parents of students – to make decisions about the need for compensatory services. The guidance also clarifies that funding for the provision of compensatory services is available to all districts through the IDEA and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which provided $189.5 billion to districts for K-12 education, with $122 billion available through January 2025. The survey asked parents about their experiences with compensatory services and with their child’s school.
Among key findings, the survey found:
• Only one in four parents (25 percent) reported they were informed by their school district about compensatory services.
• Less than one in five students (18 percent) received an offer for any compensatory services. • Schools and districts are not following the federal guidance regarding the awarding of such services; including guidance that requires parent input regarding the need for services, as less than one in four parents (23 percent) reported that offers reflected their input and another 30 percent reported that schools’ offers only “somewhat reflected” their input.
• Only one in seven parents (14 percent) indicated that they felt the process for awarding compensatory services was fair. Of those who were told their student did not qualify for services, only 4 percent agreed with the school’s decision.
• Four in nine parents (45 percent) who did receive an offer for compensatory services still do not know when services will commence.
The survey was conducted during October 27 – November 12, 2021 and included 254 responses representing 36 states and more than 200 school districts.