When news of the COVID-19 impact came into full view on every American’s television screen, things had to change. One of those immediate changes was how education would be continuing for millions of students. At the time we had no idea that the Stay Home order would drag on into the close of the school year. Now schools are discussing what they will need to do in the fall. Some have thought to continue with online solutions at least through December. Others are thinking of they can instill social distancing protocols in the school setting. No matter which of these your administration is considering, something has to be done about special education. How can we improve distance learning for special education students? These formats are less than optimal for students who have IEPs and 504s.
No one thought that distance learning would be the permanent solution to the education problem at all. It just ended up being something we had to stick to for longer than anticipated. Still, having to use distance learning raised many questions about the need for snow days and sick days if learning really could be delivered online. Could snow days be a thing of the past with the ability to employ distance learning when necessary? What will that mean for special education students who are not doing well in this format?
Distance Learning For Special Education Students Requires More Structure
One of the major complaints from special education students and the parents who are trying to help is that the lack of structure in distance learning is a barrier to success. Where most special education students have paraprofessionals in the classroom and modifications to their work, this is not happening in an effective way online.
For other students, just the change in format is an issue for some. Trying to continue learning in a completely new format has been one of the biggest challenges or students who struggle with attention deficit issues and those with ASD. Coming up with better ways to keep students engaged while the distance learning format continues is needed this will be effective longterm.
Distance learning for special education students needs to include better checkpoints and collaboration from all parties to make sure key education success indicators are being met. Perhaps guides and training can be delivered to parents and guardians helping special education students with distance learning? What ways can we further engage the parents and guardians involved to make distance learning for special education students a viable learning experience?
No one knows when things will go back to normal enough for school to resume the way it was intended. What we do now to help special education students be successful will have a lasting impact in the future. If distance learning in some way really is the future of public education, we need to be thinking ahead to overcome the challenges that will meet us on the road.
Our Educational Future Depends On How We Meet The Needs Of Every Student
How well we do distance learning for special education students will tell a lot about how well it works for all. If we can find ways to overcome challenges early and work together to make it work then distance learning has a bright future ahead.
Including progress notes from teachers for special education service providers to read will be a much-needed change for those who need extra instruction. Being able to head off barriers in the way of successful eduction early means a greater chance for success.
Providing a way for students who have IEPs and 504s a way to voice their own concerns with distance learning will greatly impact success as well. For students who are able to articulate what effect this style of learning is having on their ability to be educated properly, being able to provide feedback in real-time will allow educators to pivot as needed.
Putting added communication and feedback tools in place will not only help with distance learning for special education students but the rest of the student population as well. Getting the distance learning model right for special education students means every other student gets to take advantage of what is working for their own success as well.
Collaboration Tools Provide The Answer To Successful Distance Learning
One thing that is constantly in the conversation of special education is how to measure success. What tools are being used to measure it with special education professionals versus parents/guardians? Who are all the people factored into deciding that plans in place are successful? Collaboration is only useful if every party has an equal input into the decision. This is what is missing from special education both pre and post-distance learning for special education.
eCare Vault is the first solution of its kind to solve the problem of true collaboration and equal input in special education plans. It creates an environment where all members of the special education team can collaborate. If you’d like to see how eCare Vault can help your special education team prove their success, contact us today for a free consultation.