In a time of crisis, emotional needs exceed academic achievement and should be our first priority.”. Kami to the rescue again!”. And we have them do lots of things: quizzes on Google Forms, lessons on Flipgrid, content in Kami and reading ebooks …. It’s also a good idea to prioritize time together as a class. Academics is very much a secondary goal.”. In fact, we were pretty well set up going in. “The loss of sustained physical presence for the purpose of socializing has been a significant loss for teachers and students across all populations during this time,” said Kathleen Bautista, Ed.D., assistant professor in the Division of Teacher Education at Azusa Pacific University. These research-based special education learning solutions are READY NOW for supporting special education practitioners or children and students with or at risk for disabilities: whether for teaching and supporting students in person, virtually, or a combination of both. With Kami, teachers could leave audio and visual comments in their students’ work to provide the sort of multimedia familiarity they needed. Bautista says it’s wise to schedule them at the beginning of the year with your administrator, parents or guardians, and support providers to ensure everyone is on the same page. “They want their feedback on work they’ve completed, and sometimes I can even help them with their other subjects.”. But now, as remote learning has started up, those questions are coming up more. 35% report that their children are doing little to no remote learning, compared with 17% of their general education peers. Service providers such as speech, occupational, and physical therapists will also be working with your students. Uncertainty. For those who aren’t listening at that time, to give you some context…we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Direct instruction of social skills has been exceedingly important and also very challenging,” she noted. Those without parental guidance, often with big, busy families or whose parents provided essential services, had to struggle to rebalance their own learning with remote help from school staff with varying degrees of success. “We would put an audio comment, pinpoint things for them… [and with Video Comments] we could explain things right on that document and then use the highlight to show specific areas—so then it’s all right there for them.”. Focusing mainly on middle school, Cristi works with a wide range of students with special needs, preferably in small groups or one to one. I leave one for them and then I have them do one back. Two of my students had parents hospitalized with COVID-19. The DOE acknowledged in a statement Friday that it is a tough time for students … All of our Chromebooks had the Kami extension installed, we had persuaded our district to purchase it. To learn more about how Kami could help you with remote learning check out our resources here. And plan intentional breaks for students before bringing them back for instruction with the entire class. It was terrible at the beginning because the 8th graders just didn’t want to come onto the Zoom call to decode words! She suggests creating newsletters to inform parents of class assignments, schedules, and the strategies you are using in class to help families best support their child. But, there are a couple of things I can tell you are universal at this point and time. “Students with special needs benefit from hearing things in their own teacher’s voice in order to understand the directions.”. It was heartbreaking to hear the struggles the students were having from the parent emails and at times the students too. And nobody else needed to know in the class which students needed a bit more teacher assistance. Kami to the rescue again!”, I said to my class, it’s okay, it’s just like practicing for college and you will all be technology wizards by the end of this. That variety of offerings for the diversity of needs is just one element for finding success. Tailoring your special education resources for remote learning is more important than ever during this time of COVID-19 and schools moving to virtual instruction to keep students and families safe. And even for families who have been doing virtual learning well before the pandemic, there is a huge learning curve. In a classroom setting, students rely on their teachers to help them navigate these challenges. They all have the same document. But parents of children with developmental disabilities fear a critical loss of educational and social skills. However, it can be done. Schools are closed and we are trying to figure out how to provide services during this time. We will continue to adapt, change, and find ways to help all students reach their full potential. And best of all we had already taught our kids how to open Kami and complete work with it. It was terrible at the beginning because the 8th graders just didn’t want to come onto the Zoom call to decode words! The next issue to contend with was a universal one. Those students who were lucky enough to have parents available to help could attempt to rebuild these structures, but it took time. “All of the tools, the Dictionary and Text to Speech [in particular], they knew how to use them to express themselves and actually comprehend the work they were being asked to do.”. It’s also great for game day for Pictionary, Hangman, Scattergories, or whatever they think up!”. Jun 13, 2020 1:30PM EDT Education Distance learning often necessitates a certain level of ease and familiarity with technology, as well as sustained attention, motivation, organization, and cooperation. This has been extremely successful. Challenge is probably the most common word associated with the near-global movement to close schools and put education systems online. Remote learning has been a struggle for many teachers, parents and students across Massachusetts — especially for those with special needs. While communication is always key in special education, it is even more critical during remote learning. Remote Learning Doesn’t Support Special Education Learners Shuttered schools pose learning challenges for most families. Interactions that rely on physical proximity and the experience of having a fully embodied person present are difficult to recreate in a remote environment. Using Kami alongside Google Classroom in a well established 1:1 device school meant Cristi’s students were equipped. They are either totally tanking, potentially for personal reasons, not just remote learning, or they are maintaining or are even doing better. “Two of my students had parents hospitalized with COVID-19. Audiobooks are perfect for students who are learning reading skills, allowing them to follow along independently while you’re teaching remotely. of the tools, the Dictionary and Text to Speech [in particular], they knew how to use them to express themselves and actually comprehend the work they were being asked to do. Remote learning for special education students during the coronavirus has been largely left up to the school districts and the states. Cristi has one stand out tale of a boy in her class who could just not sit still during any of her lessons. Students with special needs benefit from hearing things in their own teacher’s voice, We would put an audio comment, pinpoint things for them…. Moving to totally online learning systems was challenging for many students, but for students with learning difficulties, it was totally overwhelming. It’s with some relief that Cristi reports that she and a colleague were already very comfortable teaching in their school’s Google Education environment prior to lockdown. There are no distractions, they practice, they listen and they’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to. However, if the student attends a school that does not provide 1:1 technology, special education students will need to be provided with devices for this to work. “Partnerships with parents are always essential, but even more so during distance learning,” said Bautista. Special Education (SPED) and Remote Learning ... Knowing that this was the case, I sent an inquiry to two administrators to see how their districts were serving special education students. And probably a smidgen of frustration … “There was a lot of panic in the first week! And we have them do lots of things: quizzes on Google Forms, lessons on Flipgrid, content in Kami and reading ebooks … We just had them do poetry on Padlets, create Six-word video memoirs, and some of my students wrote the best things I’ve ever seen them write.”. Providing remote learning opportunities to students with cognitive, sensory and physical challenges can be a daunting task. Undermining sometimes years of work by staff and parents, it meant that many students simply didn’t have the tools they needed to engage with school at all, let alone continue progressing. There are a few specific ways that Kami has helped Cristi and her students during distance learning: The importance of a familiar voice and teaching style cannot be underplayed in special education. “Social-emotional health is paramount over academics. But to help them, I needed to hear them read out loud and make the sounds and they needed to hear me provide them with the feedback. These are specific challenges for some students with disabilities. There are nearly 180,000 kids receiving some form of special education, per a DOE report released this month. And best of all we had already taught our kids how to open Kami and complete work with it.”. There was definitely a need for some socializing, but they all came because they wanted that help and to have someone help them organize their day so they could get on and be successful. Now, almost 3 months into Cristi’s Zoom class, her students don’t just always attend; they actively enjoy the structure and time it gives them to learn. Learn about how to create a personalized and engaging remote learning experience for all of your students through the resources provided in these pages. While remote learning cannot replace our special education classrooms, supporting parents will help our students learn and grow. Now I have them do their phonics pages in Kami and they leave me an audio comment. Every once and a while we may get an assignment turned in, and they used to be A/B students, but now we just can’t get in touch with them.”, “Put it this way: there’s really no in-between. Confusion. For instance, teach a lesson on academics or social skills or share a favorite story. They require  texts read out to them by a familiar person—it’s so important. Students with Disabilities. But to help them, I needed to hear them read out loud and make the sounds and they needed to hear me provide them with the feedback. “Thank God we found Kami before distance learning! I definitely do not claim to know all the answers to all the many questions. “It was so overwhelming for them that sometimes they wouldn’t even attempt it. With a combination of both, students can feel supported socially, emotionally, and academically. “You will want to coordinate students’ schedules to accommodate all of their services,” said Bautista. Was … There was a lot of panic in the first week! We are grateful for programs like Kami that have helped our students do just that during this global pandemic.”. SPED professionals must deliver highly specialized teaching methods to help a huge range of different learning conditions, balance social and emotional growth with solid learning progress, and ultimately equip their students for a world that poses many real challenges. Parents are in unchartered territory and likely have many questions. “Emotional well-being is something we all must be cognizant of during times of extreme change that we are currently dealing with,” said Bautista. Tailoring your special education resources for remote learning is more important than ever during this time of COVID-19 and schools moving to virtual instruction to keep students and families safe. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (formerly the Department of Education) said schools could provide a modification to the IEP in the form of a remote learning program, which was to be submitted in writing to families. Providing remote learning opportunities for mainstream students is tough enough, and few accommodations for special needs students are available for remote learning. Remote Learning and Special Education Students: How Eight Families Are Adapting (Video) By Bridget Fetsko — June 10, 2020 1 min read Share article Bautista has decades of experience teaching students enrolled in special education programs and also served as a principal and director of special education. Students with special needs need to see or at least hear their teacher’s voice. “I was so over-the-top stressed, couldn’t figure things out,” said Anita LaBarbera of Wilbraham. Annual and triennial IEP meetings will need to stay on track during distance learning. We needed to make sure they were okay before any learning could happen, and there were a couple of weeks when there was no work coming in from them—and that was fine.”. But it’s far from stopping the dedicated educators who are fighting to help their students regardless of the circumstances. Now, he sits at his one desk chair, wears his headphones and he’s the first one logged in and he’s the last one to leave—it’s just fantastic. As an. Fortunately for students with special needs and their families, our dedicated teachers did not give up the good fight despite the monumental challenges they faced. With meetings now taking place virtually, make sure your notices include information about how to log in to the online meeting. Some are almost focused better. Special education: For special educators, diversity demands they provide inclusive, accessible learning environments that inspire confidence and encourage independence differently for each student. 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