What We Need - Alicia

May 29, 2020

My name is Alicia and I am the parent of two school aged children with disabilities. I am from Portland,
Oregon. The COVID-19 emergency has significantly impacted my children's access to specialized education.

We have received distance learning materials from our school, however, without the structured routines of
their regular classroom, my children are struggling to maintain focus and engagement at this time. I am
worried about the long term impact this will have on their education and development. I know you are
working on the fourth relief packages for COVID-19. I want to learn more about how you are going to help
people with disabilities in this package. Thank you very much for your time.

I would like to remain anonymous and not disclose my name or location. As a person of color and an
immigrant, even though I am a LEGAL immigrant, I fear there may be repercussions for sharing my struggles. I am a parent of a teenager with learning disabilities and emotional challenges. My partner and I do not speak English fluently and have struggled with understanding how, when, and where to get appropriate support for my child's learning needs. Since my son was young, it was quite a challenge for us to secure help for his learning given the cultural, language, and knowledge barriers. We did not know about or even heard of an IEP. It took years for us to finally "catch up" and understand what types of rights we have. With the current COVID-19 situation, we are struggling all over again. Also, with my child's anxiety, coupled with the level of discrimination Asian Americans have been receiving all over the country in New York, Texas, California, etc., ranging from receiving death threats to actual attempted murder, we are all struggling from crippling anxiety. It is no longer a struggle only exhibited by my child. My entire family, neighbors, friends are all anxious and living in fear. We want to know whether there is something being done to 1) help minority families like us with learning about and accessing what is needed to support our child's disabilities and 2) to protect minorities from acts, especially threatening and violent acts, of discrimination. I know you are working on the fourth relief package for COVID-19. I want to learn more about how you are going to help families like mine.  Thank you very much for your time.