October 16, 2020

In this week's show, Adrian and Ethan look at the challenges of remote learning for children with special needs, their parents and teachers.

October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. 1 in 5 children in the U.S. have learning and attention issues like dyslexia and ADHD. Having learning and attention issues does not mean a child isn’t smart. But kids with learning disabilities struggle to achieve when they don’t get the right support.

In a typical year, special needs children would receive additional support at their respective schools. But this isn’t a typical school year.

Parents must not only figure out how to get each child logged into their classes on time but they must follow along to make sure the kids stay focused. Parents provide their only outside help. Managing virtual learning is difficult but managing virtual learning for kids who have special needs is much harder.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 7 million students between the ages of 3 and 21 received special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in the 2018-19 school year.

While many special ed students are legally guaranteed services through individualized education plans (IEPs), a May survey found that almost 40% of parents whose children have such a plan reported that their kids didn't get any support when schools closed in the spring because of COVID-19.

Most families — and teachers — have been left to fend for themselves, especially in those cases where the family can't afford outside services to help the child at home.

We can always count on kids wanting to help those less fortunate and this story is amazing…

The Inspiring Story of “Captain” Tobias

Captain Tobias – as he is called by his supporters – is a nine-year-old boy with cerebral palsy and autism who cannot walk or stand unaided.

This incredible young man has raised more than £150,000 ($195,800) by walking two marathons. Tobias Weller used a walker to cover the 52 miles (84km) on the street where he lives in Sheffield, England.

Tobias completed his first marathon on May 31. It took him 70 days to complete his challenge, walking up to 750 meters each day up and down his street. He raised over 80,000 pounds for the Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Paces Special School. He started his second marathon on June 14. He finished his challenge on August 1, accompanied by Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.

He gained the nickname Captain Tobias in reference to his inspiration, Captain Sir Tom Moore, who sent a message of congratulations when his fundraising passed the £100,000 mark. He was also congratulated by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.