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Distance learning creates hurdles for students with special learning needs

Distance learning creates hurdles for students with special learning needs
Posted at 2:03 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 19:49:03-04

TULSA — As Tulsa Public Schools parents continue to brace themselves for a virtual start to the school year, the “new-normal” is creating a few hurdles for students with special learning needs.

One of the parents anxiously planning for the school year is working single mom, Calista Marler. Her 10-year-old son, Wesley, has ocular albinism, which means he doesn’t have the usual amount of pigment in his retinas. This makes it difficult for Wesley to see words on a page.

When class is in session, Wesley usually sits in front and educators use tools to enlarge his work for him.

Now that classes will be virtual, Marler is concerned that Wesley’s education will suffer.

We depend on the school provide tools for Wesley because the tools he uses cost thousands of dollars and they are big so you don’t really fit them in your home.
Calista Marler

Right now, Wesley is using a tablet that can drastically enlarge some of his reading material, but there are some items he can’t see.

Marler said she’s been speaking with other special needs parents and the pending school year has represented a large hurdle.

“He’s very fortunate that his visual impairment is his only issue and it’s very workable,” Marler said. “But there are kids who receive their physical and occupational therapy at school that their parents aren’t able to afford.”

2 Works for You is looking for resources for alternative learning students to make the virtual start to the school year a bit smoother for parents and kids.

The district has been working on ways to help students for weeks.

"We will work to ensure that the accommodating and support they have lined up in their IEP’s are met whether they are in our district and they are growing with us or they are in our virtual academy," said Tulsa Public School District Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist.

They currently have an academic plan for students with varying levels of academic needs.

However, if you have additional questions you can email the department directly at

At last check, TPS was Marler to figure out a positive solution for her son Wesley.

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