Remote Learning for Children with Disabilities

Remote learning offers new challenges for children with disabilities and their families. Here are a few tips to help your child move forward in the new school year. These tips are fairly generic (not only for CdLS), but they might hold some inspiration for your situation

Understand national special education law. Due to the pandemic, greater flexibility has been extended to school systems in provision of special education services. School may not be required to provide the same level of service during the pandemic.
Reach out to your child’s teachers/counselors/ therapists (team) prior to starting school. Proactively discuss prioritizing goals, daily schedule, format of instruction and barriers to remote learning (sensory/ motor impairments, technological needs, behavioral concerns, family issues such as work schedules or multiple learners in the home). Ask what resources are available to help. Many school systems are providing computers/AAC devices for home use; internet access (through local internet companies); written materials; loans of hands on learning tools used in the classroom; or assistive technology consults to help the child assess remote learning.
Establish a consistent and open communication system with your child’s team. This may be via email or brief weekly video check-ins. Discuss your child’s successes and challenges with remote learning. Work together to adapt the plan as needed.
Find an optimal learning area for your child in the home. Use this area for learning every day. This area should be distraction free. Your child will need a sturdy table or tray, supportive seating optimally with arm rests and feet on floor or a footstool if safe for use with your child. Many children benefit from a quiet environment, but others may learn better with a quiet noise level in the background. Consider use of headphones to assist with hearing and focus (if tolerated). For children with difficult to understand speech, use of a head set with a microphone or an attached collar microphone will help their understandability over video conferencing platforms.
Establish daily routine and structure from day 1. Start and end the remote learning school day at the same time each day, just like in school learning. Use a schedule or a daily list of activities (like what was used at school). Your child may benefit from a visual (digital or paper), tactile or auditory (such as a bell or kitchen timer) schedule. Include breaks for movement, play, sensory time, snacks and meals. Your child’s teacher and/or therapist can assist you in developing a similar schedule to the inschool schedule used with your child.
Relax and take movement/sensory breaks. Discuss with your child’s team movement and sensory strategies and materials were built into your child’s school day and add these into your child’s schedule. These may have included: quiet/nap time, sensory play/fidget toy time and active movement time. If you don’t have these materials at home, ask your child’s team for recommendations on how to adapt what is available at home. For example, if you don’t have a bouncy ball, your child could bounce on the edge of the bed or on a stack of big pillows with supervision.
Give yourself permission to be creative. Close the laptop, put away the tablet and engage in experiential learning experiences with your child. Look at your child’s learning goals and get creative about incorporating those into everyday activities. For example, make a new sensory toy by using food coloring to paint rice and place in a clear bottle (colors, motor movement, verbs “shake, fall down,”, exclamation “oh-no, uh-oh”, sound /sh/) or match socks (matching, counting 1-2, motor movement - roll, toss into sock drawer/laundry basket, vocabulary “sock, push, match, 1-2, in”) or correctly sequence the steps in making a snack. Discuss ideas with your child’s team.
Be good to yourself. It’s a stressful time for all of us. Give your child, yourself and your child’s team permission to have a bad day, learn from it and move forward. Find some time for yourself to rejuvenate and recharge. Identify a support group of friends or other parents in the CdLS community.
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Patti Caudill, M.S
Patti Caudill, M.S

CCC-SLP, Greater Baltimore Medical Center

Page history
Last modified by Gerritjan Koekkoek on 2020/11/03 09:51
Created by Gerritjan Koekkoek on 2020/11/03 09:45



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