Sun | Sep 26, 2021

Mico graduate student focuses on special education

Published:Sunday | July 11, 2021 | 12:09 AM
Joan Phillips-Bennett
Joan Phillips-Bennett

Since face-to-face classes were stopped last year March, many teachers, parents, and children have had challenges manoeuvring to hold on to some sense of normalcy during the pandemic.

Joan Phillips-Bennett, an outgoing graduate of the Mico University College, believes that children with special needs as well as their parents have greater odds stacked against them. The student of special education at the Mico University College says that children with varying disabilities and special needs were not dealt the best set of cards during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a virtual space, Phillips-Bennett highlighted, students with specific learning disabilities (SLDs), children who have attention deficits and physical disabilities, among many others, are not able to fully function using just virtual learning, and many of their parents are not equipped to teach and provide the educational support that they desire for their child.


Phillips-Bennett saw this void as a student majoring in special education as well as the mother of a child with special needs and decided to host quarterly webinars geared at providing support for parents and teachers of children who have varying needs and disabilities.

The most recent webinar, hosted on June 18 and titled ‘Where Do We Go From Here? Empowering Children With Special Needs During A Pandemic’, included guest presenters such as special educator Jacqueline Archibald; author and educator Emily Brown, and licensed occupational therapist Tracy-Ann Barclay. The webinar tackled topics regarding the mental health of children and parents, activities that can be done online to assist with motor and cognitive development in children, and collaborating for the child’s best learning experience.

Over 100 participants joined the Zoom sessions. The recorded sessions are available on Facebook (@specialneedsja).

Phillips-Bennett is a proud advocate for children with special needs and says she feels joy at being able to assist in providing support for the many families of special needs children who are facing difficult times, and she invites parents to capitalise on many resources that provide assistance and support.

- For updates and information on upcoming webinars, follow Joan Phillips-Bennett at @specialneedsja on Facebook and Instagram or email her at