FORT WAYNE Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - The pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives, and especially for parents with children in school. Some parents have been forced to quit their jobs to stay home with their kids for online learning, like one mother with two sons who have autism.
Katie Dallape says Fort Wayne Community Schools is not giving her children the education they need because they have autism.
“Nobody understands a child with autism,” Dallape said. “They need more than another of the other kids in school.”
Her 8-year-old son Richard is at high risk for COVID-19 so she chose for him to do online learning with FWCS.
She says kids with autism learn at a different pace than others and he doesn’t have the kind of help he needs.
"I have to sit there and make sure he does his work because he cannot focus,” Dallape said. “I just feel like the school is lacking, they’re lacking in their responsibility to be able to take care of our children, especially our special needs kids.”
Dallape says she wants the school to give her son more individualized learning such as more special education teachers and additional therapy.
"We are trying to prepare our kids for a life without us,” Dallape said. “How are we supposed to do that if the school is not even going to help us.”
She says she reached out to school leaders about her concerns but they have not responded.
“The schools are always telling us these kids are our future, but how are they going to be our future if they can’t get it together for our special education students,” Dallape said. “They’re preparing for a life without me and when that day comes, I need to know that they’re going to be okay.”
She says she wants her special education children to be prepared for their futures.
“My kids are my world, I would do anything for them, and that’s why I’m here to advocate for them and all those other kids with special needs,” Dallape said.
Fort Wayne's NBC reached out to leaders at FWCS and while they denied an on-camera interview they told us, over the phone, they are doing their best to accommodate all students under the current circumstances.
They also said if parents feel like they have a problem they need resolved, they should reach out to their specific school principal.