Parents of Students with IEPs Raise Concerns Over Regression in Light of COVID-Related School Closures | Littman Krooks, LLP
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Parents of Students with IEPs Raise Concerns Over Regression in Light of COVID-Related School Closures 

July 27th, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every New Yorker. Parents of children who have an individualized education program (IEP) are facing unique challenges, as school closures have resulted in an unavailability of services for many families. Indeed, services disappeared overnight for thousands of New York students, leaving parents to figure out how best to get their children the services they need to thrive.

Approximately 7 million children – or 14 percent of all students in the United States – receive special education services. These services are federally mandated, meaning that schools must provide them to students. However, under guidance from the Department of Education, “If a school district closes its schools to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19, and does not provide any educational services to the general student population, then the school district would not be required to provide services to students with disabilities during that same period of time.”

Understandably, parents with students who have special learning needs are afraid that, absent these crucial services, their children could regress. In general, regression is a stage in which a child displays a behavior that they have outgrown or that is inappropriate for their age and level of development. In this context, regression refers to the decline in knowledge and skills that is due to an interruption in education. Psychology and education experts agree that children are most comfortable with consistency, and that a sudden change in circumstance can trigger regressive behavior. Changed circumstances, coupled with a removal of services, can be a double trigger, increasing the chances of regression. The signs of regression vary between children; however, they often include:

  • More frequent or more intense temper tantrums
  • Wetting the bed or more frequent accidents
  • A sudden inability to sleep through the night
  • Starting to use a pacifier again or suck on a thumb
  • A sudden withdrawn attitude

While some schools are implementing remote learning curriculums, these are not always catered toward students with special needs and may not be effective. In fact, studies have shown that when a student receives educational content that is not specially tailored to their unique needs, the student can begin to feel further isolated.

Consult with an experienced special education advocacy attorney

The challenges facing parents who have a student with special needs are greater than ever given the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions in place to curb the spread of the disease. At Littman Krooks, LLP, we have a deep understanding of the rights that special needs students have under the law, and are passionate about ensuring our clients’ children receive the education and benefits they are entitled. We will work with you, your child’s teachers and the school district representatives to ensure that your child is provided with the education services they need and deserve. To learn more, call 914-684-2100 to schedule a meeting with an attorney today. During these unprecedented times we are working remotely to fully meet our clients’ needs. We are offering our clients the opportunity to meet with us via telephone or video conference call.


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This article does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon. If you need legal advice concerning this or any other topic please contact our offices to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys at 914-684-2100 or 212-490-2020.