The challenges facing special needs children

Dr. Jen Ashton sheds light on schooling issues that special needs children are facing during the pandemic.
2:28 | 08/13/20

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Transcript for The challenges facing special needs children
Some of the major developments we're tracking right now, the numbers out of Johns Hopkins university. More than 20 million confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide. More than 749,000 deaths and at least 166,000 of those deaths right here at home. With me starting us off is ABC chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton. We've been talking about back to school and the controversy surrounding schools re-opening. We heard from Dr. Fauci, one size does not fit all. That is certainly more complicated when you look at families dealing with special needs children. Exactly, Amy. This is a group, a subset of that population of school age children, that has gotten next to none attention. Next to no national attention. Let's get a scope of the numbers. One in five U.S. Teenagers are known to have special health needs. This equates to more than 1.3 million teenagers in that age group. Overall 9 million children under the age of 18 have special they really depend on these special education services with many in this group saying vocally that right now they've been an after thought in this discussion. They really need to be considered specifically. I think every parent at home now with their children, and especially those who don't have special needs, know how hard it is on that playing field. Talk about the distinctive challenges for these families with special needs children. There are distinctive challenges. First of all, it's important to remember some of these children also have pre-existing medical conditions. Giving them a remote assignment is not feasible. They are trained and taught by highly skilled educators that are needed for additional services like speech therapy. Behavioral therapy, in some cases socialization therapy, one to one teaching, occupational and physical therapy. This is a huge spectrum of these factors are labor intensive involving time, resources, communication which usually has to occur in English which presents a problem for nonspeaking English parents. What's at stake is not just a failure for these children to progress to the next level, but a risk of them regressing and going back. This absolutely needs a greater spotlight. Dr. Jen, thank you for shining one on it. We appreciate it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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