© 2024 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
We received reports that some iPhone users with the latest version of iOS cannot play audio via our website.
While we work to fix the issue, we recommend downloading the WSHU app.

'It's Awful': Parent Of A Special Needs Child Laments Lost Year Of Education

Erin Croyle and her son. Arlo has Down’s Syndrome and some other medical issues. His doctors say it’s not safe for him or his siblings to return to school this fall.
Courtesy Phota Via WSKG
Erin Croyle and her son. Arlo has Down’s Syndrome and some other medical issues. His doctors say it’s not safe for him or his siblings to return to school this fall.";s:

Parents are deciding whether to send their children back to school. For some parents of children with special needs, the choice isn’t about their child’s education — it’s about their health.

Online schooling has not gone well for Erin Croyle’s kids. Croyle and her husband have three children ages 10, 7, and 5. Arlo is the oldest. He has Down’s Syndrome, ADHD and some hearing loss.

"It’s kinda just [sigh] It’s, it’s awful," Croyle said. "And it’s not for a lack of the teachers doing an amazing job. And it’s not for a lack of everyone trying their hardest and their best."

She said her kids need to be in school five days a week but that’s not possible. Arlo’s doctors say it’s not safe to send him or his siblings back to school. They don’t know what risks Arlo would face if he got COVID or if there are any long-term effects. So, all the kids are going to be learning at home this Fall.

“I can get him to sit for his class meetings. But to actually do the work that they assign? I found myself doing it for him at times and then I thought ‘this is ridiculous’ and I just stopped,” she said.

At school, Arlo had a one-to-one aide to work with him during his classes. That aide is a trained specialist. Croyle is not.

Her kids' education isn’t the only thing Croyle worries about. Being isolated for so long is taking an emotional toll, too.

“Arlo talks about a couple of his close friends all the time. But we’re not able to see them because they aren’t at the same level of quarantine,” she said.

Croyle said she’s starting to think of this school year as a lost year.

She reminds herself that her family is not alone, that there are many other parents of kids with disabilities dealing with the same problems. That gives her a little comfort.