Parents and caretakers of students with special needs have faced particular challenges during the pandemic. Some of Legal Services’ clients have children who received targeted, effective and hard-won special education services in their public schools. When the physical schools closed in Miami-Dade County, many of those services changed substantially or ended altogether. Parents—many of whom work and have other significant commitments—have been left trying to pick up where well-trained special educators left off.
These students still have the right to receive a free appropriate public education. If your child has an IEP or receives special education services, those should continue to the extent feasible during the pandemic and during distance learning. According to the school district, individualized student support that can be provided through distance learning might include sign language interpretation, using assistive technology, paraprofessional assistance, pre-employment skill building and other accommodations. If a student has special needs that are not being accommodated or a suspected disability that has yet to be diagnosed, parents may reach out to Legal Services for legal advice or assistance. To apply for services, please visit https://www.legalservicesmiami.org/self-help or call 305-576-0080.