CANAL WINCHESTER, Ohio — At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, students were forced to attend their classes remotely. It wasn’t an ideal situation, especially for students with developmental disabilities.
That’s why the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio (DSACO) responded to the challenges of distanced learning by teaming up with Learning Aid Ohio.
COVID disrupted learning for students around the world. But pandemic-related school closures did not affect all children equally. For students with special needs, remote learning just didn’t work.
“It was very hard to keep him studying and learning, and at the same time working from home. It was very tough,” Seble Nigatu said.
Seble is the mother of a child with Down syndrome. Her son, Nathan, is headstrong and knows what he wants. If he wanted to ride his bike, there was no way Seble could keep his attention on a computer screen. So, she reached out to DSACO for help.
Through the Learning Aid Ohio program, DSACO was able to provide Nathan individualized support to get him back on track and help rebuild the skills he’d lost during the pandemic.
“Learning Aid Ohio has just given resources to families who were not able to access that before,” said Emily Drought, Nathan’s tutor.
Drought is a licensed special-education teacher who also works for Learning Aid Ohio. She has tutored Nathan for the past two years and he loves her. The two have a special bond. Nathan trusts her.
“It’s been great to see him grow both academically, socially, in all way,” Drought said.
Bridging the learning gap that grew during remote learning will take some time. But Nathan is up for the challenge, especially when he’s not riding his bike. Learning Aid Ohio is one of many programs provided by DSACO to enhance the lives of those with Down syndrome. But it takes funding to offer these programs to the community free of charge.
DSACO’s annual fundraiser, Buddy Walk Columbus, is Sunday, Oct. 2 at Fortress Obetz. Whether you have Down syndrome, know someone who does, or just want to support, you can click on this link to donate or register.