COVID Diaries Colorado – Homeschooling a Child on the Autism Spectrum

A typical workday for Eugenia Brady sees her liaising between Boulder County families and local schools, helping students with developmental disabilities access special education services. Her work with The Association for Community Living gives her insight into challenges facing families who have fought hard for services at school and now are struggling.

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“For example occupational therapy…you can’t do that online, the student needs to be there. The speech therapy can be done online, but some other services that the students receive, it’s not possible for them to access that online.”

Eugenia Brady (right) with her daughter Brittany (left) at home with their dog Xander.

Brady’s son, 16-year-old Benjamin, is on the autism spectrum and is himself missing some of these services. The sudden change in routine has also been a struggle.

“He needs the structure, he needs to have a predictable day and so it has been difficult for him in that regard and that can reflect on maybe how much attention he’s paying in class or how he’s able to complete this homework or paper that he needs to turn in.”

However, Brady also sees how home learning can benefit some students on the spectrum.

“Sometimes for these kids, they get so anxious in school and really nervous about going from this period to the next period and (having) to turn in these assignments… that has diminished.”

Local school districts are working to provide special education services remotely. Brady says many are doing a good job but others may not have the resources to make it work. She hopes the Colorado Department of Education will provide support so students don’t fall through the cracks.
Brady, a single mother, has had to overcome her own struggles. A leg amputation three years ago left her wheelchair-bound. “It was hard before and now it’s even harder,” she says.

At the end of another busy day Brady reflects on this new normal. One of the hardest things for her is not being able to travel to Costa Rica to see her family, including her 91-year-old mother. “There’s nothing like being with family especially in difficult times.”

This story is a part of COVID Diaries, powered by the Colorado News Collaborative, or COLab. KGNU joined this historic collaboration with more than 20 other newsrooms across Colorado to better serve the public.

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    COVID Diaries Colorado – Homeschooling a Child on the Autism Spectrum KGNU News

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