Mother teaching her deaf mute daughter to use sign language at home

Parents in Ontario are facing an unprecedented challenge as schools across Ontario are closed until at least May 4th, 2020. Teachers, unions, school boards and the Ministry of Education are scrambling to prepare to continue the education of all Ontario children in these stressful times. It’s time for parents to have an opportunity to voice their opinions about eLearning.

The Ministry of Education has made available a new portal Learn At Home, to be able to provide some basic resources for children and parents. However, now as we go into a second, longer phase of school closure, the ministry is moving to have school boards provide direct education to our children again, working through the restrictions placed on all of us.

There are 2 areas where there does not seem to be a lot of overt thought and planning at this time. Children with disabilities or “special needs” and rural students.

In order to try and provide some insight and some hope for struggling parents, I am organizing a Zoom Roundtable on Monday April 6th, 2020 at 10am (First day of e-school) to try and figure out what we as parents need, and how we would like school boards and the Ministry to support our kids at this time.

Please share this with all who are interested in making a difference at this time to give the feedback we need to boards and the ministry so that we can be assured that our children, and our families’ needs are met in the midst of this stressful chaotic time.

I’ll be following up from this roundtable with my team at Autism Advocacy Ontario (AAO) who will also be launching a quick special education survey soon and we will work with some experts on some solutions to help meet the needs of as many of our children and their families as we can.

Update. Thank you to those who signed up and participated. The notes from the meeting will be posted shortly.

I will do a second roundtable for Wednesday April 15th at 10am dealing with rural students and how best to reach them and ensure there are realistic means to fully involve them in their distance learning education.

We are all in this together Ontario!

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