As students in districts across Southern California continue their schooling online amid school closures due to COVID-19, we’ve heard here on AirTalk from students, teachers and parents about the challenges that online learning poses when it comes to things like distributing and submitting assignments and communicating with teachers.
But the crisis poses a different set of questions for special education students and their parents and teachers, who must address many of the same issues students around the district face while also making sure that students are getting the individualized attention they need to succeed. Many districts like Los Angeles Unified as well as the California state and federal education departments have released their own guidelines and FAQs for working with special education students during school closures forced by the pandemic.
Special education students receive a wide array of services through both federal and state programs, and many of those don’t easily translate to online use, especially those that require physical or in-person assistance. And some parents are worried that more hurdles could be coming down the line. Part of the recently-passed coronavirus stabilization bill was a provision allowing the Secretary of Education to seek Congressional approval to waive parts of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the federal law that mandated individualized instruction and additional services for students with special needs in order to ensure they receive a comparable education to their peers.
If you’re a special education teacher, provider or a student or parent of a student in a special education program, we’d like to hear from you. How are you navigating the challenges of online learning and making sure that you or your student(s) get the individualized attention needed? Join our live conversation by calling 866-893-5722.
For more on this at LAist from KPCC’s Kyle Stokes, click here.
Margo Pensavalle, professor of clinical education at the University of Southern California; she was a special education teacher for 16 years and currently designs curriculum for the students with differences corridor of USC’s Masters of Arts in Teaching program