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Distance learning: Parents worry their special needs kids will lose skills

More districts move to extend school closures until the end of next month. Some parents fear kids with disabilities will regress.

GARDINER, Maine — Jennifer Profenno is juggling three different lesson plans for her kids who started 'distance learning' from home earlier this week due to the coronavirus

The students range from a second grader to a junior, and their challenges include autism, ADHD and anxiety. 

All three students have Individual Education Plans, also known as IEPs where they receive specialized instruction and related services. 

Guidelines from the feds allow for remote learning to facilitate a student's IEP during closures. 

But without a trained ed-tech or educator physically present, Profenno has taken on the role of teacher. 

She fears her children will show signs of regression when they get back into the classroom. 

"That's a big challenge with a kid with an IEP, they are not taking the initiative to do the work because the teacher emailed it, they are going to need more support," said Profenno.  

Patricia Hopkins, the Superintendent of MSAD 11 said 21 percent of the student population receives services. 

She said staff are reviewing every IEP to identify areas where alternate supports are needed. 

A statement from the Maine Department of Education concerning Individual Education Plans. 

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