The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed almost every aspect of our lives. This includes how we work, socialize, and learn. In Episode 59 of Parenting Impossible, Host Annette Hines and guest Dr. Ingrid Amorini-Klimek address what special needs education could look like in the future.

Dr. Amorini-Klimek is a lifelong advocate for special needs families, the sister of a special needs brother, and has extensive experience as a special education teacher. For many years, she worked as an administrator for a large educational system but said, “Over time she became disappointed in the bureaucracy that failed to listen to the needs of the community.” This led to the creation of her own special needs resource center, Our Special Village. She is also the founder and president of the non-profit organization, The Bocha Project, whose mission is to promote inclusive practices around the world. 

Annette and Dr. Ingrid begin the show with a discussion on how the pandemic has added extra stress for families who have a loved one with a disability. The doctor shares her brother’s personal struggle with not wanting/understanding the importance of wearing a face mask. She worries his refusal to cover his face in public could result in a loss of privileges like traveling on a plane or being allowed inside public establishments. 

Next, the two special needs experts jump into how classes and programs will need to change to accommodate social distancing rules and safety procedures. They agree programs should not be structured as a “one size fits all” method, and instead need to be tailored to individuals. While some children have fallen behind during the lockdown, Dr. Ingrid shares her personal experience watching others thrive. 

Finally, Annette and Dr. Ingrid jump into a conversation about how the role of special needs parents will be different moving forward. After spending months working one-on-one with their children, parents have now become the experts. This shift will create a new dynamic between families, teachers, and administrators in the future. Annette believes the solution lies in everyone coming together and evaluating individual needs. “It’s amazing what people are doing by joining forces and coming together.”

Annette Hines has been practicing in the areas of Special Needs, Elder Law, and Estate Planning for more than 20 years. Ms. Hines brings personal experience with special needs to her practice and podcasts as the mother of two daughters, one of whom passed away from Mitochondrial disease in November 2013. This deep, personal understanding of special needs fuels her passion for quality special needs planning and drives her dedication to help others within the special needs community.