Special Education Resources to Use During Distance Learning

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. With stay-at-home orders placed across the country amid the pandemic, distance learning quickly became the norm.

And while adjusting to new remote learning programs is a challenge for many students and teachers, the learning curve can be steeper for special education teachers and their students.

The Challenges of Distance Learning in Special Education

Special education teachers have a responsibility to help their students succeed in accordance with their Individual Educational Programs (IEPs), which create the structure for their individualized lessons and face-to-face guidance.

Distance learning often necessitates a certain level of ease and familiarity with technology, as well as sustained attention, motivation, organization, and cooperation. These are specific challenges for some students with disabilities.

In a classroom setting, students rely on their teachers to help them navigate these challenges. At home, it can be different.

“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. Bautista has decades of experience teaching students enrolled in special education programs and also served as a principal and director of special education. “Direct instruction of social skills has been exceedingly important and also very challenging,” she noted.

Ann C. Toledo

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