The transition to online learning has been more challenging on some students than others, and children with exceptional needs may require additional support while attending virtual classrooms. Here are Tutor Doctor’s strategies to support your exceptional needs child with online learning!
1. Maintain consistency. As we’ve mentioned in other blogs, there unfortunately isn’t a lot of consistency when it comes to school re-opening procedures. Some areas have been hit harder by the pandemic – whereas some districts will reopen, others have committed to online education throughout the 2021 school year. However, it’s important to keep in mind that public schools are required by law to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for individuals with exceptional needs. This means that any programs your child relies upon are still active and available. These include, but are not limited to:
- Special education classes
- IEPs (Individualized Education Programs)
- Alternative curriculum
- Ease-of-access approaches for individuals with disabilities
2. Use school resources to your advantage. Although schools might be physically closed, that doesn’t mean resource programs aren’t available. In fact, many parents are surprised to find that most schools still have a full administration staff and student resource departments that continue to serve families in their community. These include:
- Speech-language pathologists
- School counselors and psychologists
- Librarians, access to e-books, and “story time” for younger students
- Career and college planning offices
- Academic counseling and planning services
We encourage all parents to reach out to their child’s school to inquire what resources are currently being offered.
3. Keep in touch with their teacher. The transition to online learning has certainly been a challenging step, but teachers have done a phenomenal job in providing the same quality of education as any other school year. So although you might not be able to meet your child’s teacher in person, you can still schedule a parent-teacher meeting to express any concerns you may have. Lines of communication are fully open, and most teachers have multiple ways of getting in touch with them (including email, phone calls, and video chats). We understand that parents might feel more “isolated” due to the circumstances, but remember that your child’s teacher will still be very much available to help!
4. Pay attention to changes. Online learning has been difficult for many students, and kids with exceptional needs face an even greater challenge. As we’ve talked about in our blogs, students all have different learning styles – in general, we break this down into visual learners, auditory learning, and kinesthetic learners. Online classrooms inherently favor visual learning, and this can be a problem for students who learn best via “hands-on” methods. This is even more apparent in students with exceptional needs. If you notice serious changes in your child’s behavior or suspect they are falling behind, don’t delay – reach out to their teacher, school, and any health professionals for advice. In many cases, students with exceptional needs benefit from having a more focused form of instruction that has been catered to their individual strengths and learning style. For more information about the benefits of one-to-one tutoring programs, click here!