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Watch: Two Siblings With Disabilities, Two Different Ways Of Learning During The Pandemic

Sarah McKenna and her son, Ian, look at the leaves of a plant in the garden of their home.
Julia Reihs
/
KUT
Sarah McKenna and her son, Ian, look at the leaves of a plant in the garden of their home. Ian donated 20,000 pounds of produce to his community over eight years.

When Austin Independent School District classes went online at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Sarah McKenna, a single mother and essential worker, thought her son would thrive in the remote learning environment.

In actuality, Ian, who has ADHD, autism and dysgraphia, struggled to focus and keep up with his classes. In contrast, his sister, Addison, did thrive. Addison, who has ADHD and a sensory-processing disorder, found the minimized distractions and sounds at home benefited her.

McKenna eventually decided the benefits of in-person learning for Ian outweighed the risks of COVID-19. Now back in a classroom, he has improved his grades, gotten more one-on-one time with teachers, and will finish his final semester of high school before heading off to college.

Day By Day: Learning With Disabilities During A Pandemic

Produced by Julia Reihs with reporting by Claire McInerny.

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