Now that students are home using online learning strategies provided by their schools, new educational challenges are emerging. Schools are struggling to maintain equity with all students learning from home, with some kids requiring accommodations, special services, and English language help.
Students with disabilities are likely to have some of the most challenges in adapting to online education at home. For some, sitting for long periods of time at home may be nearly impossible, let alone watching videos or dealing with the social cues and internet delays of video conferencing. Teachers can not monitor or adjust the learning environment online as they can in person. The US Department of Education requires schools to provide services to students with disabilities, if they provide education to anyone at all. This protection comes in Section 504 of the civil rights Rehabilitation Act of 1974, thus the moniker of “504 Plans” attached to individual students, outlining how their disability must be addressed. Section 504 levels the playing field for students with special needs, and in practice usually deals with physical and medical needs. Individual educational plans (IEPs), which are governed under an education law in the 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), typically deal with specific learning needs and are required to have goals. Both 504 and IEP plans require monitoring. The IDEA has a good set of goals regarding educational disabilities:
“Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to society. Improving educational results for children with disabilities is an essential element of our national policy of ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.”
Let’s Go Learn provides unique tools to allow students to be assessed for IEPs, and dramatically saves time for teachers and parents. Once students have been assessed, they can receive specialized, personalized instruction through the LGL Edge products in math and reading. Special needs students who must receive education at home can get a specific lesson plan with goals, using Let’s Go Learn products, including real-time progress monitoring.
With all students learning from home, schools are bracing for challenges in providing equitable education to all students. Many districts are worried about compliance and the legal risk they are potentially bringing to their entire districts. Some services to disabled students may end up being nearly impossible to replicate in the context of online school, while many others may translate to an online forum easily, or even beneficially. But parents and teachers may find benefits in using tried and true software tools to facilitate online education for disabled students.