What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• School closures due to COVID-19 also cut speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists that special education law requires.
• How can school districts support those who need extra services? How can schools increase access to teletherapy services?
With coronavirus restrictions closing her preschool, Heather Debby’s 4-year-old daughter, Margaret, lost therapy with the speech language pathologist who was teaching her new words and how to speak clearly. Instead, the Chicago family received lesson plans for a month that they struggled to deliver while waiting for Chicago Public Schools to approve teletherapy.
“The frustrating part was the lack of communication from the district and the lack of reasoning around why they wouldn’t allow it,” Debby said.
Parents and therapists say that the mid-March school closures cut off children from speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists that special education law requires. Parents like Debby said their children need those essential services to succeed in school.
School therapists in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois said they have struggled to figure out how to provide therapy ethically while adhering to often vague guidance from federal, state and local officials.
Operating without a playbook and with long lists of children waiting for their services, they worry about risking their licenses and not meeting the needs of the children who desperately need them.
Across the country, approaches to therapy have differed not only state by state, but between school districts and even among schools, said Jaumeiko Coleman of the American Speech Language Hearing Association.
Read the full article about school therapists by Samantha Smylie at Chalkbeat.