APACHE JUNCTION, AZ (3TV/CBS5) - More schools are going back to online learning as COVID-19 cases in the state continue to soar. For families of students with special needs, the transition is especially difficult.
Brittni Stimson's 8-year-old son Liam is a second-grader in Apache Junction Unified School District. The district is currently in a hybrid learning model with students learning at home three days a week then two days on campus. Stimson said this has been very challenging for her son with autism.
"The transition for him is nearly impossible. He doesn't want to look at the computer screen. He doesn't want to look at the tablet. He doesn't want to engage," said Stimson.
Under Gov. Doug Ducey's executive order, all school districts in the state are required to provide on-site support services for students with disabilities. However, Stimson said Liam isn't receiving in-person therapy services on days he is learning from home. She said she understands why the district made the call and feels supported by his teachers and therapists, but it doesn't make the situation easier.
"I am not as good as his teacher. I am not a therapist. I am not all these people that he desperately needs in order to thrive right now," said Stimson.
Life during a pandemic is impacting him differently.
A spokesperson for Apache Junction Unified School District provided this statement to Arizona's Family:
"According to our executive director of educational services, Heather Wallace on-site services are not required. But AJUSD does provide special needs students with both in-person services and through tele-therapy based on each individual student and provider. Also, no matter what the learning model - traditional, hybrid, online - AJUSD special needs students continue to receive their services."