For parents of students with learning challenges, the sudden move to distance learning created a new landscape for engagement, learning, self-confidence, and mental health. There is unfamiliar vulnerability on all sides. For parents, this may be the first time you have observed your child "doing" school in real time. Your home is now the context for your child's education and wellbeing. For teachers, most have heroically stepped up to accommodate this new model of curriculum delivery, reconstruction of classroom culture, and caring.
At Purnell School, our students have a range of specific learning disabilities, school avoidance, and depression and/or anxiety. Universally, they come to us with low self-esteem and little confidence in what they are truly capable of. In this paper, I examine how learning differences may appear differently online and the new challenges of isolation and the increased risk of mental health concerns that this change of circumstances has exacerbated.