Huntsville City Schools announces new plan for children with special needs

It's called the Individualized Distance Learning Program and will be used with IEPs to determine how students can receive in-person therapies.

Posted: Jul 24, 2020 6:27 PM
Updated: Jul 24, 2020 6:58 PM

Huntsville City Schools announced it is rolling out a new program for special needs students when school starts next month.

It's called the Individualized Distance Learning Program and will be used with IEPs to determine how students can receive in-person therapies.

Huntsville City School leaders say students will either be able to receive in-person therapy at Calvary Hill Community Center, or they may be eligible for tele-health therapy if a parent isn't comfortable with the student coming into the building.

Either way, the district says it will assess each student's needs before coming up with a plan.

"I just would like to know how we are going to continue on with that, whether it's in-home therapies, or coming in one day a week," said mother, Krista Butler.

Butler has an autistic daughter and says continuing her therapies is important.

"It teaches them so much. Just daily life skills and emotional regulations and stuff like that," said Butler.

Friday afternoon, Huntsville City Schools announced during the teachers' first week of school, faculty members will contact parents of children with special needs to create an individualized distance learning program, or IDLP.

It will help determine which therapies will be in-person and which will be done over tele-health meetings.

The district also said the new plan will help determine how many times a week each child receives those therapies.

"Many of these services require physical contact, so that's why we will not be providing group services. We are not bringing mass groups of students into the building," said Director of Special Education Services Elizabeth Long.

Long told WAAY 31 therapists will be screened and temperatures will be taken regularly.

"We've ordered additional PPE. We've ordered an abundance of hand sanitizer, masks, face shields. Of course, we have the masks with the clear frame," said Long.

Butler says she's ready to know what her daughter's schedule will look like this fall.

"We need the district to talk to us and get a plan ready for these children," said Butler.

The district says over the weekend, it will decide how many rooms will be available for therapy.

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