Teachers of Special-Needs Students Struggle With Feelings of Helplessness
Remote learning has proved challenging for students who need intensive one-on-one guidance.
Ms. Owoimaha-Church is particularly concerned about some of her autistic students, who had finally succeeded in becoming part of a social network in school — something that can be particularly hard for those with autism.
“I knew when this was coming down, it would shake them to their core,” she said. “Their routine is off, and the peer support group they managed to create for themselves — through clubs and hanging out at lunch — are now gone.”
One high school junior, who came out of his shell in the last year by bonding with a group of seniors, became very depressed early on after classes shut down, Ms. Owoimaha-Church said.
“At one point, he just sat on the phone with me for 40 minutes,” she said. “He’s just not doing well, socially, emotionally.
“He asked, ‘When are we going back to school?’” And when I said, ‘probably not this school year,’ he just started to cry. He realized he won’t see his friends again because they’re all seniors.”