Parent of special needs child concerned about online learning

Ottawa County

SPRING LAKE, Mich. (WOOD) — Many parents have concerns about what exactly going back to school will look like this fall, specifically those who have children with special needs.

“These kids need to be in school,” said Spring Lake parent Kristen Cook.

Cook’s daughter Taya is 11 years old. She is visually impaired and faces other health issues. That’s why her mother says online learning just won’t work.

“My daughter, for example, gets physical therapy, occupational therapy, she sees a visual consultant,” said Cook. “There’s just so much more than the writing, the arithmetic, the reading, that these kids get.”

Taya attends Spring Lake Public Schools. The district has announced a fall learning plan that gives parents the option to choose either in-person or distance learning as long as the area is in at least Phase 4 of the state reopening.

Due to Taya’s health, Cook says she can easily contract COVID-19 and the effects could be deadly. As far as socially, Cook says it’s difficult when Taya can’t leave the house.

“Taya does not have behavioral issues,” said Cook. “Taya wakes up happy, goes to bed happy. Now it’s like she’s very anxious, she gets excited easier, she wants to know where her friends are, she wants to know why she can’t go back to school, so it’s a pretty big deal here.”

So, this mother hopes more solutions will be drawn up soon.

“There’s only so much I can do here at home,” said Cook.

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