Pandemic causes communication issues between Omaha schools, parents of girl with special needs

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OMAHA, Neb. — The parents of a child with special needs can’t wait for her to attend a preschool program in Omaha Public Schools. But the father has been frustrated by a lack of information.

It illustrates communication challenges during COVID-19 restrictions.

Almost 4-years-old Avalynn Dunn Wilson is expressive, but not in words. Jeremiah Wilson says his daughter needs to catch up with other kids her age.

“So she should at least be communicating and verbalizing hundreds of words right now,” Jeremiah said.

Avalynn is enrolled in a speech therapy program at OPS starting the upcoming school year.

But Jeremiah claims communication with his daughter has been better than with OPS over the plan for her special education needs.

He said he’s called the lead teacher for early childhood education but their office is closed. He hasn’t received any mail from OPS with preschool starting in about a month.

“I need to figure out how long she’s going to be in school, what school she’s going to. We haven’t had any sort of inclination as to what to do,” Jeremiah said.

After 6 News contacted OPS, Jeremiah got a call from the special education director with answers to his many questions.

“I was getting extremely frustrated and now I can rest easy and make sure that she has what she needs and she’s taken care of,” Jeremiah said.

News that is exciting for dad.

“We finally know what school you’re going to,” he said to Avalynn.

Omaha Public Schools Spokesman Jeremy Maskel said on behalf of the district, “As our district responds to the pandemic, some phone lines can’t be answered live. A recorded message guides callers to connect by email either directly with staff or through Responsive service for our families and community is important to us.”

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