Spokane mom worried son with special needs will fall behind with virtual learning

SPOKANE, Wash. – Back to school is going to look a lot different this fall. Spokane Public Schools have said they will be going completely virtual.

It’s not ideal for most kids and parents. For parents who have kids with special needs, it’s even more of a challenge.

Betsy Clevenger started helping her 7-year-old twins with virtual learning last spring.

“I’m horrible at it. My patience is thin,” Clevenger said.

Lack of patience she says stems from just wanting to help, but feeling like she can’t. This is especially true when it comes to her son Wyatt with special needs.

“It was constantly Wyatt, sit down, sit down. Don’t pick your nose. They can see you!,” said Clevenger.

She’s worried without in-person learning, both of her kids will fall behind in school. She’s not alone.

“We’re definitely concerned about that with all students, not just students with disabilities,” said Becky Ramsey, Director of Special Education for Spokane Public Schools.

Ramsey said the district plans on holding virtual lessons with teachers every day of the week this next semester.

“We believe that with the additional instruction that’s going to be provided by teachers, that students will find more success than they did in the spring,” she said.

Students with a disability, such as a visual impairment, will have other options when it comes to learning.

“They would be eligible to come in for some limited in person instruction,” said Ramsey.

While it may be a relief, Clevenger knows there’s still a long road ahead.

“No one is prepared for a pandemic with this going on in this day and age,” she said.

For now, she along with many other parents, are just taking things day by day.