There’s a lot of concern over special education going online. This is partly due to the fact that special education ranges across all ages and all abilities. From three all the way to twenty-one, from academics all the way to vocational training, from completely self-contained to students in general education with some support, teachers are scrambling to figure out how this is all going to look online.
I’ve seen the most concern from teachers in self-contained classrooms. These students often require one-to-one support, intensive behavior supports and frequent re-teaching of skills. They are questioning whether they can move their classrooms online.
We cannot and should not. What we should be looking at is how to embed lessons into everyday routines in the home. What we should be looking at is how we can best support parents with the routine they have in place now, rather than completely upending it and asking them to replicate our classrooms.
If your student has self-help goals, consider asking parents what routine they need the most help with – bedtime? Dressing? Then create a visual task analysis for that routine. If your student has sorting goals, think about things they can sort at home: socks (also a matching goal!); laundry by color; putting up silverware; etc.
Is your student’s routine at home technology all day? That’s fine too. Ask the parents to work on basic directions, turn-taking, and compliance. Ask parents to schedule a break into the technology time. Remember this can be as simple as setting a timer, having the student hand over technology, saying thank-you and handing it back.
I sometimes hear teachers say “if parents would just….” Well, here’s our unique chance to teach parents how to “just”, to acknowledge that they are the experts of their child, to step back and support them as much as we can without physically being there.