DENVER — Parents are taking on new roles since the coronavirus began changing our lives. On top of trying to talk to their kids about what’s happening, many are also figuring out how to teach them from home. The challenges are even greater for those with special needs children.

"I recently had a parent call me and ask me, saying, 'I have a child with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). He’s going to be home for the next weeks. He doesn’t do well on computers, what can I do to help him?" said Stephen Fusco with Advocacy Denver, a non-profit that works with families of people with disabilities. "I don’t think a lot of people know how much the district and school districts provide in terms of services for kids."

Next Tuesday, Advocacy Denver will host a free virtual seminar to help families with special needs students get access to teaching resources and figure out ways to continue their child’s learning outside the classroom. 

Advocacy Denver
KUSA

It's a unique approach for kids with unique needs.

"In particular for kids with special needs, that means they’re now trying to address all of those fear needs while providing education," said Fusco. "When the student was in the classroom, there was a paraprofessional or two, a special education teacher, there were social workers and psychiatrists in the building. For kids with special needs, none of those providers are available anymore."

For families like the Johnson's in Denver, the coronavirus has forced them to take on new roles as parents. 

"It’s almost a teacher, a healthcare professional, everything. It’s a lot of hats taking on right now," said Raiko Johnson, who has eight kids, five of whom live at home now. "It’s definitely been a journey and an adjustment to have them home and trying to explain to them why they are not in school."

Several of their kids have special sensory or medical needs. Usually, they rely on teachers or therapists at school to help. Now the burden has shifted to the parents.

They juggle video conferences with teachers and therapists to try and get exercises for their kids to keep the learning going. It’s not easy.

"Being that we don’t know how long this is going to last, what things are out there to help us get through this?" said Johnson. "It’s quite a challenge for us to try and do so many different conferences right now."

To find out more about Advocacy Denver, click here. You can also contact them at 303-974-2530.

For resources from Denver Public Schools, click here.

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