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Class of COVID-19: For Special Education Students, A Potential Side Effect Of COVID-19 School Closures: Struggling To Communicate

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Illustration by Camila Kerwin
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Last spring, the coronavirus pandemic forced schools across the state to shut down, and teachers to move their lessons online, which Denise Wilson said was a struggle from the start for her son Brady. He is among the nearly 15% of public school students in Florida who have a disability and receive special education services.

TALLAHASSEE — On a cool evening in December, Denise Wilson scrolled through YouTube to find children’s videos for her 18-year-old son, Brady. She handed him his iPad and watched over him as he rocked his head to a tune by the Wiggles.

Their dog, Keefer, roamed around the patio looking for attention. But Brady was consumed with the song, forcing Keefer to lay her front paws on Denise.

“Brady, is Keefer the prettiest one in the family?” Denise asked.

“Yeah,” Brady said, nodding, briefly taking his eyes away from his device.

“Yeah,” Denise agreed, as they smiled at each other.

Last spring, the coronavirus pandemic forced schools across the state to shut down, and teachers to move their lessons online, which Denise said was a struggle from the start for Brady. He is among the nearly 15% of public school students in Florida who have a disability and receive special education services.

Find the rest of the story here.

This story is part of the Florida Public Media series, "Class of COVID-19: An Education Crisis For Florida's Vulnerable Students." Find the whole project — and sign up for our limited-run newsletter — at classofcovid.org.