The Americans with Disabilities Act says schools have to help not just students but parents with disabilities, too, like making sure deaf or blind parents can communicate during parent-teacher conferences. But what happens when kids are learning at home? That's uncharted territory.
Rosabella Manzanares, a first grader at Betsy Ross Elementary in Forest Park, Ill., has a spelling test. Like so many kids around the country, she's taking the test at home, sharing a Zoom screen with a class full of other boisterous 6-year-olds.
Rosabella's teacher relies on parents to grade simple assignments like this. But while Rosabella can hear the spelling words, her mother can not.
Chantelly Manzanares uses American Sign Language, or ASL, which is different than English. It's a visual language. It has its own grammar. It uses different sentence structure. Rosabella and her siblings grew up using ASL. But while they've become fluent in English, Manzanares is not. She can grade this spelling test, which Rosabella holds up to the screen with a big smile. But it can be tough for Manzanares to help with other work in English.
What's more, now that the kids are home all day, Manzanares says she worries her children are missing out on the benefits of being in the physical school environment.