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Parents fear year out of the classroom will leave their kids behind

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As kids across Central Ohio get set to head back to class, many parents have some major concerns.

Local education advocates fear they haven't been able to get the attention and resources they need to be successful and are worried their kids will fall behind after a long year spent mostly outside the classroom.

It's certainly a big worry for those students with special needs.

“It’s like starting all over, the whole last year was a complete waste. Nothing that they were doing at home is going to be similar to what they’re doing at school,” said parent Sarah Osborne.

For Osborne, the past year has been tough. The kids learning from home has been a real struggle.

“I do feel like the entire year was lost,” Osborne told WSYX.

Her big issue has been addressing the educational needs of her young son, Leland. Diagnosed with ADHD and autism, staying on task with school work was not easy. Now, headed into his freshman year of high school, Osborne fears he may not be ready.

“A lot of kids who have autism or special needs, they need very strict schedules. They don’t adapt well to change, and it’s going to be completely different,” said Osborne.

It's a familiar story for education advocates.

“A lot of families are trying to figure out how are they going to transition their children back to school given that they may have lost skills or regressed or didn’t make progress,” said Kristin Hildebrant with Disability Rights Ohio.

Hildebrant told WSYX that the lingering effects of COVID are yet another barrier kids and families will have to hurdle.

“Part of the big issue here is that students with disabilities are already behind kids who don’t have disabilities in their achievements in schools. This pandemic has only widened the gap,” said Hildebrant.

Osborne is working with her son's school district, trying to get as much information and help as possible to get this school year off on the right track.

“I feel like this whole year coming up, I feel like we’re going to be starting all over. Trying to figure out what we need to do to make sure he’s accomplishing the goals he needs to make it to the next grade,” said Osborne.

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Education advocates stress the best thing parents can do is to maintain constant contact with their child's teacher, school, and school district and demand the assistance and resources that will help their kids to get back on track.

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