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Parents facing challenges teaching children with special needs continue to push forward

The burden is especially unique for the parents of children with special needs who may need to continue e-learning into the summer.

Some metro Atlanta districts will end their academic year next week. With just a few days left, so many parents are still trying to figure out how to make e-learning education work. 

The burden is especially unique for the parents of children with special needs who may need to continue e-learning into the summer.  

Stay-at-home mom Elizabeth Foy has become a full-time teacher to her children with special attention given to her 13-year-old daughter, Hannah. 

Hannah has down syndrome with autistic features. It puts her at high risk for COVID-19. The family has been on lockdown since March 16. 

Hannah is usually taught by a group of teachers and specialists, like speech therapists, occupational therapists, and behaviorists. Now, it's just one. 

"She has adjusted to the new routine over time. We still have lots of behavior because of you know the change in circumstances and that’s been very challenging for both of us," said Foy. 

Credit: Foy family
Elizabeth and Hannah Foy

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Almost more than missing her school routine, Hannah is missing out on seeing her friends and all her extracurricular activities like cheerleading and the Special Olympics. 

"Many of the things that made her life rich and full and meaningful have been canceled and closed and it’s really hard to explain to her why that is," said Foy.

She tries to keep the lessons interesting by baking and going on hikes, but she worries it's not enough. 

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"I’m definitely concerned that she won’t be where she needs to be next year," she said.

Foy said some days the schedule is overwhelming but she remains resilient. 

"Hannah has taught us to make the most of everyday that we have so we try to find joy in the things that we do everyday," she said.

To keep Hannah on track she will likely have to work through the summer, but it requires one-on-one support. That means she would not be able to attend a virtual session without someone sitting next to her the entire time. 

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