This is a difficult time for all of us. Teachers and school administrators are making great efforts to meet the needs of all students, including students with special needs. Now, more than ever, parents and advocates should do their best to work collaboratively with school staff.
The following is guidance for parents, so that they can effectively advocate for their children who have special needs during distance learning.
Parents have the right to request an IEP Meeting during distance learning.
Schools are either sending parents a Distance Learning Plan (DLP) or contacting them to schedule a “quick call” regarding the DLP. For our students, these options may not be enough to inform parents/guardians about specifics regarding distance learning such as delivery of instruction, accommodations, and expectations. Questions to pose to the IEP Team include:
- How will the reading and math interventions continue during this time?
A reminder that we will be looking at compensatory education when this crisis is over and that we will look at progress on IEP goals, progress in the general education curriculum, and the amount of services provided? We will need to have good data on my child’s levels now and data about progress as we move through distance learning. Before closing the meeting, consider the following:
There may be the need for some new accommodations, supplementary aids and behavioral plans that go beyond what the student has needed during traditional education.
When we finally get back to traditional in-school learning, the student may be entitled to compensatory services.
In order to evaluate whether the student has made the type of progress we would expect, when all students return to the school building, it is important for parents to keep good data that includes the starting levels of their child, samples of the work that the child has created during the distance learning time, and the final levels the child has achieve at the end of distance learning. Data can include: