Couple Start Outdoor Classroom For Kids With Special Needs

Published by: Disability Scoop
Written by: Emily Bamforth, Advance Ohio Media/TNS

CLEVELAND — Akron Public Schools offered Lyra Thomas, a student with Down syndrome, specialized therapy, support in the classroom and a social network.

Lyra, 8, was on track to match her peers when the pandemic hit, parents Max Thomas and Holly Christensen said. But when schools closed in the spring, she fell behind. The district is still in remote learning, as the board of education looks to pinpoint a time for return as coronavirus cases in the state spike again.

But Lyra’s education couldn’t wait. So Thomas and Christensen bought a tent and set up a pop-up classroom in the backyard. They opened the classroom to other local learners with disabilities, and hired recent Kent State graduate Declan McCaslin, or “Mr. M,” to lead lessons and help the kids navigate remote learning and appointments. Click here to read the rest of the story


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