HELENA — The COVID-19 pandemic meant a lot of changes for parents, schools as well as for children who have a disability or special needs -- ranging from school shutting down in the spring to the hybrid classroom model for the fall,.
“We as disabled parents don’t always feel that we are being heard," said Glenda Heitz Burton who is a mother of three who has a child with a disability.
Heitz Burton also added that during the pandemic the schools being closed was hard on her children.
“My two special needs kids couldn't hang out with their friends. It was really hard for them mentally, because they like that interaction and that interaction they have missed.”
Sean Morrison, the pre-kindergarten through fifth grade Special Education Administration says that Helena Public Schools has put community health on the forefront while giving children with special needs or children living with a disability individual attention.
An example of giving students special attention, for a student that could have issues with hearing or sight.
“So if you and I were connecting remotely for a lesson, we would make it so you could see the captioning of all the words I am saying, in real-time,” said Morrison.
Teachers also use clear masks to enable students to see their teacher's mouth. Telehealth is also available for families.
Heitz Burton says that the community needs to show compassion around some of the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, like children who struggle with putting on a mask.
"We are all different as individuals, whether you can visibly or not. Just always having that mindset of grace and understanding, for your fellow human," Morrison concluded.