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Parents with special needs children prepare for virtual learning

Many parents are dealing with a new reality this school year: distance learning. Parents with kids who have special needs will have to make the biggest adjustments.

Posted: Aug 14, 2020 10:28 AM

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - Many parents are dealing with a new reality this school year: distance learning. Especially those who have children with special needs.

According to the Tupelo Public School District, about 14 percent of the district’s students are in a special needs program.

Many of whom will be learning from home this year, requiring their parents to step in as their primary educator.

One of those parents is Lora Gipson. Her three children Noah, Elijah and Michaela will be 100 percent virtual this year.

“I really think this will be the best option for them,” said Gipson.

Noah and Elijah both have a form of non-verbal autism, while Elijah also suffers from upper respiratory problems.

"With COVID being an unknown, I don’t know how that would affect him," Gipson said.

Gipson says distance learning with two special needs children will come with its own set of challenges.

"It’s a little overwhelming, but the school seems to have a good plan in place,” said Gipson.

Part of the plan involves bringing as much of the classroom to the kitchen table as possible.

”I’ve blocked off our dining room, which is not an area that I have really let them in a lot," explained Gipson.

"They recognize the Chromebook as being from school and everyone has kind of looked over them and picked at it because they have looked at them before."

Teachers are also making sure they go the extra mile to ensure students feel supported, even from home.

“I spoke with Elijah’s teacher over at Milam [Junior High School] and she said she should get a camera that’s on her so that he can be able to see the class while she’s teaching,” said Gipson.

Director of Special Education for the Tupelo Public School District Genevieve McAlpin says teaching special needs kids from home isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

“We have a very large curriculum depending on what the child’s different deficit areas are,” said McAlpin.

But she says teachers will do their best to make the transition from the classroom to the coffee table as easy as possible.

“We’re going to incorporate them into groups as much as we can, as much as they can see their friends and participate that way,” said McAlpin.

McAlpin says one exercise you can do is use tangible things like pencils and other items around the house for things like counting and keeping track of progress.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 256827

Reported Deaths: 5638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17257180
Hinds16331322
Harrison13567194
Rankin10804212
Jackson10453184
Lee8864141
Madison8314164
Jones6434112
Forrest6009120
Lauderdale5902186
Lowndes5405116
Lafayette499193
Lamar488565
Washington4803124
Bolivar3997109
Oktibbeha395381
Panola372379
Pontotoc367853
Monroe3558105
Warren354898
Union345960
Marshall344066
Neshoba3396152
Pearl River3301100
Leflore3041107
Lincoln298085
Sunflower286671
Hancock274459
Tate273162
Alcorn265453
Itawamba263759
Pike263778
Scott248046
Yazoo247056
Prentiss246552
Tippah243050
Copiah242749
Coahoma241054
Simpson236467
Leake231765
Grenada219471
Covington214672
Marion213073
Adams207070
Wayne202932
Winston201666
George199839
Attala194259
Newton193444
Tishomingo189361
Chickasaw185044
Jasper172736
Holmes168767
Clay159833
Stone144721
Tallahatchie141934
Clarke139862
Calhoun136521
Smith121424
Yalobusha117834
Walthall112336
Noxubee110822
Greene110429
Montgomery109834
Carroll104821
Lawrence102917
Perry102631
Amite98426
Webster92824
Tunica87321
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis85326
Humphreys83124
Benton82023
Kemper77620
Quitman6968
Franklin66715
Choctaw60913
Wilkinson58725
Jefferson54919
Sharkey43117
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 426543

Reported Deaths: 6126
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62752920
Mobile30551554
Madison27303186
Tuscaloosa20835267
Montgomery19192305
Shelby18693114
Baldwin16513183
Lee12603101
Morgan12321113
Etowah11805168
Calhoun11206200
Marshall10236107
Houston8681148
Cullman8094105
Limestone807474
Elmore7923101
DeKalb771597
Lauderdale763183
St. Clair7599120
Talladega6224108
Walker5930174
Jackson583741
Colbert535473
Blount532083
Autauga522755
Coffee446256
Dale399781
Franklin368148
Chilton337865
Russell335910
Covington330168
Escambia321342
Dallas305196
Chambers288669
Clarke283133
Tallapoosa2630107
Pike251329
Marion247350
Lawrence245247
Winston229035
Bibb217047
Geneva203335
Marengo200829
Pickens196931
Hale177442
Barbour173836
Fayette171226
Butler170758
Cherokee160930
Henry155021
Monroe147317
Randolph141535
Washington138326
Clay127045
Crenshaw120244
Cleburne118423
Lamar118419
Macon116835
Lowndes111535
Wilcox103621
Bullock99728
Perry98219
Conecuh95120
Sumter89526
Greene76223
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
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