If you think learning and that also distance is challenging for children with special needs try asking the teachers how they are coping with their special students. Generally speaking virtual meetings may not exactly be conducive for students who require personalized and step-by-step guidance and support to keep them engaged. Why is keeping them engaged important? This is because learning is not a place but a relationship between a teacher and her students. Only positive connections between the two, whether in person or online, is an important motivating factor for any child. The following suggestions may help boost engagement, connection and support with children of special needs.
Put the relationship before academic rigor
Teachers need to complete the curriculum within a specified time period. This itself can give anyone stress especially if you are running behind schedule. The sudden social isolation, pandemic, virtual learning has taken its own toll on children. Teachers need to address the social-emotional needs of their students first and pay extra attention to the differently abled.
Get creative with accommodations and supports
Children with special needs look for a lot of support from their near and dear ones. Give them simple clear and specific instructions. Break down their task into smaller achievable chunks. Keep checking on them frequently lest they need support. You may need to send them to breakout rooms more frequently than you would do for any normal student. Here too you will have to be clear and specific about what is expected of them to do in breakout rooms. Especially modify their assignments to suit their capabilities.
Understanding and handling of these students can be challenging for any educator alone. You will require a strong team of supporters like other educators, their parents and siblings and the school psychologist.
We cannot promise a smooth ride with the above suggestions but with team efforts you are more likely to sail through
Source: Greater Good Magazine