Online Learning With Special Solutions

Meeting Each Challenge
Posted on 04/27/2020
Image of Nicole Kelley and Austin(Jennifer Pignolet for Ohio.com/Akron Beacon Journal)

Austin Kelley leaned forward in his chair at the kitchen table, his nose and blonde bangs just inches from his iPad.

On the screen, the 10-year-old’s teacher was demonstrating how to say “more” in sign language. Next to Austin, his mother, Nicole Kelley, encouraged him to try it.

Austin, in a black GAP hoodie, leaned back and touched the ends of his fingertips together, just like his teacher did. Then he put his hands in the air, squinted his eyes and smiled wide.

Although quarantined at home in West Akron, Austin, who has a rare neurological condition that impacts his speech, is still making progress learning to communicate, his mother said.

“It took him a day or two to get used to it, but now we have our routine,” Kelley said of continuing Austin’s work at home.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to close last month, a major concern across the country was how families that have children with disabilities would fare.

Schools are required to provide extra help for students who have individualized education plans, or IEPs. In Akron Public Schools, where Austin attends Bridges Learning Center, about one in every five students has an IEP. Read more of the story here >>.

Image of Nicole Kelley and Austin
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