Parents with special needs children turn to social media for back to school help

Posted at 4:09 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 19:32:20-04

GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Many students have already returned to school but there’s a bigger challenge for some parents depending on their children’s needs.

For years Lorriane Looney has been trying to find the best help for her 5-year-old son.

Looney’s son has autism and after years of trying to get him the best help, and she created a Facebook page to help other parents of special needs kids.

Since the pandemic, the need has grown.

"I started this group to be a resource for information for parents in Sumner County so that no one would have to be in that position where they did not know where to go," said Looney. "It’s been a good tool for parents but there’s also some teachers in the groups as well who gotten on board."

Looney says with Sumner County’s back to school in-class and online combination plan many parents are worried how this will affect their child’s learning.

"The hybrid part was a little bit confusing for him. It’s much easier for him when he does the same thing every single day and we know this is our routine, this, and this, and this and we didn’t have that," she said.

Looney says it’s a lot for any parent to juggle especially one dealing with a child's special needs during a pandemic.

"We need to not only be teachers but in that remote learning phase we need to be the occupational therapist, and the speech therapist, speech and language and all of these things that no one person is trained to do all those things," she said.

She says if the district decides to go fully online someday, parents have questions.

"What does that look like? I know that the county has purchased some specialized platforms for students with special needs but we don’t have any information on what that looks like," Looney said.

Until then, Looney says she’ll keep fighting for her son and other children to make sure they’re receiving the same amount of education as any other student.