While remote learning proves challenging for most students, children with developmental disabilities face especially difficult circumstances during the pandemic as they are separated from their therapists and teachers.
Writing for The River, Reporting Fellow alum Amanda Michelle Gordon documents how disabled students and their parents are adjusting to homeschooling in the Hudson Valley region. Marc Molinaro, a Dutchess County executive whose daughter, Abigail, has autism, tells Gordon that New York State was slow to help students with disabilities: “They established guidances for tennis and guidances for beaches and guidances for retail space. Why guidance for those with developmental disabilities wasn’t a priority speaks volumes about the way the state of New York treats those with developmental disabilities […] from a leadership prospective.”
While remaining resilient, parents are still often left to provide services that would normally be handled by physical, occupational, or speech therapists. “We are not capable, we are not trained, we are not certified to teach them what they need to know,” Danielle Cannon, whose son has nonverbal autism, says to Gordon.
Gordon was our 2018 Reporting Fellow for Westchester Community College, where she served as the co-editor-in-chief for The Viking News and majored in journalism. She reported on approaches to teaching children with autism in Brazil for the Pulitzer Center. Gordon continued her journalism studies at SUNY New Paltz. Her reporting interests include veterans, handicapped populations, and the environment.
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