Teaching Online During COVID 19 for Special Education Teachers


New Strategies in Special Education as Kids Learn From Home


In special education, teachers say that schedules, sensory supports, and close collaboration with families can help smooth the transition to remote learning during coronavirus.

Serving Special Needs Students During COVID-19: A Rural Educator's Story


When schools in Owsley County, Ky., closed in early March, James Barrett hopped on his bus each morning to deliver meals to hundreds of students.

Then the special education teacher, who is also a bus driver for the rural district, would head home and log in for Zoom meetings with his high school special education students—some of whom have 3rd- and 4th-grade level skills in reading, writing, and math.



The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children.

The IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.

The challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic are many and have forced school districts across the nation to take necessary steps to not only protect the health and safety of students, but address the academic, and social-emotional needs of its most vulnerable students. While distance learning quickly became the default solution for the more than 54 million students displaced by school closures, it was not the most accessible choice for the nearly 7 million students currently identified as students with disabilities under IDEA.

The Pandemic Is a Crisis for Students With Special Needs


Some students rely on schools for the personal, hands-on attention of specialists. What do they do now?

6 ways to support students with disabilities during COVID-19 school closures


Like many offices, mine is closed right now, so most mornings I start my workday in front of my laptop with headphones on attending my morning standup meeting at my kitchen table.

My 10-year-old starts his school day doing the exact same thing. But instead of participating in a meeting with 30 adults, he’s attending class with a third of his classroom peers. Virtual learning for 30 kids is overwhelming, so they stagger meeting times throughout the day. The hangouts are loud, kids are talking over kids, and there are many giggles. It is chaotic.

Teachers of Special-Needs Students Struggle With Feelings of Helplessness


Remote learning has proved challenging for students who need intensive one-on-one guidance.

Special education students are not just falling behind in the pandemic — they’re losing key skills, parents say


Antwon Gibson’s public high school in Northeast Washington didn’t even attempt to teach his “independent living” class virtually this spring. The gregarious 18-year-old has an intellectual disability and reads and performs math below grade level. He’s been out of the classroom since schools closed in March and now requires more help from his family to break down multi-syllabic words.

Ayo Heinegg’s son, a rising sixth-grader in the District with dyslexia and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, is typically a high-performing student. But he struggled to keep up with his coursework on multiple online platforms and lost his confidence in the classroom.

With Schools Closed, Kids With Disabilities Are More Vulnerable Than Ever


With school closed, Marla Murasko begins her morning getting her 14-year-old son, Jacob, dressed and ready for the day. They have a daily check-in: How are you doing? How are you feeling? Next, they consult the colorful, hourly schedule she has pinned on the fridge.

Jacob, who has Down syndrome, loves routine. So this daily routine is important. Schools in Hopkinton, Mass., are closed until May 4th, so Jacob's morning academic lesson — which according to the schedule starts at 9 a.m. — has been temporarily moved to the basement.

Special Education Guidance for COVID-19


Our goal is for this document to serve as a companion resource, to provide guidance, best practices, resources and unique considerations for supporting students with disabilities, their families, and all educators throughout the school reopening process. For additional technical assistance on the provision of special education services throughout the school reopening process, refer to Questions and Answers: Provision of Services to Students with Disabilities during COVID-19 in Summer and Fall 2020.

Remote Learning for English Learners and Special Needs Students during COVID-19


For California’s most vulnerable students, including 1.2 million English Learners (EL) and over 700,000 students with special educational needs, remote learning in the wake of COVID-19 presents particular challenges. As districts across the state roll out distance learning plans to minimize disruption to K–12 students, educators must find alternate ways to meet all student needs.

English Learners and special education students typically require more in-person support, such as occupational and speech therapy, in their daily learning than students in general. Educators are struggling to devise and implement plans to address these requirements remotely. Access to internet and devices is one area of concern, but so is providing intensive learning experiences that can stand in for in-person services.

Empowering students with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis


  • Approximately 15% of the world’s population, 1representing more than 1 billion people, live with disabilities, and 2% to 4% find day-to-day life challenging without assistance.
  • Disability is more prevalent in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries. 2
  • Disability, gender, nationality, ethnicity, poverty and many other factors affect internet access. An online-based, high-tech approach is not always ideal for creating an inclusive learning environment.
  • Currently, because of a lack of disaggregated data and information, it is unclear how many students with disabilities are receiving inadequate educational support as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An inclusive response to COVID-19: Education for children with disabilities


What if the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic served as an opportunity to re-think how emergency education planning can be inclusive of children with disabilities? Isn’t this global crisis presenting a unique opportunity to rethink the need for accessible and inclusive education? Here are some of the ways we can move the Post COVID-19 agenda forward to make education truly disability inclusive.

Mental health implications of COVID-19 on children with disabilities


The world suddenly underwent a major and abrupt change with the advent of COVID-19, a virus outbreak which was termed as a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020 (WHO, 2020). With physical health risks of COVID-19 being rightfully promoted, the current work serves as a platform to discuss its mental health implications on children with disabilities. The impact of COIVD-19 is evident with schools and colleges shifting classes online and work from home becoming a way of life throughout the globe. Commonly termed as social distancing or social isolation, has led to a lack of daily routine and structure. Maintaining a routine induces a sense of discipline as well as safety in children, which is important for their psychological and emotional development. Making adjustments to routines, like, experiencing closure of schools and day care centers, social distancing and/or confinement to home can prove to be a real struggle for children with physical and mental disabilities.

Special education in the time of COVID-19 – and how to make up for lost time this fall


Kelli Weaver found herself fumbling as she tried to apply teaching guides from her second-grade son’s classroom to math and reading lessons at home. The effort would often end in meltdowns rather than learning.

Parker, an 8-year-old in a high-performing autism class at the Yakima School District’s Gilbert Elementary School, was accustomed to a certain structure in his classroom. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t be in school suddenly when buildings statewide closed in mid-March. His mom was managing his behavioral, medical and schooling needs on top of her usual daytime responsibilities. Parker’s social and verbal skills began to regress and Weaver feared his academic progress from the school year would follow.

Foundations: Remember Special Education in Your COVID and Post-COVID Investments


In March 2020, I wrote a blog that spoke to the philanthropic community’s need to support the quakes and tremors caused by the coronavirus pandemic. One such tremor presenting itself can be found in the realm of special education—a decades-long, federally guaranteed equity intervention that touches nearly 14% of all public school students. While the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that a free appropriate public education be provided to eligible children with disabilities, many school districts are struggling to honor this mandate since traditional methods for delivering special education and related services have been completely disrupted by COVID-19-related school closures.

To help U.S. philanthropy understand how to best deploy COVID and post-COVID response efforts in public education that are inclusive of students requiring accommodations, FSG sought counsel from leaders of three organizations that work to ensure special education students have equitable access to and supportive conditions from public education: Heather Graham of Oak Foundation, Lauren Morando Rhim of National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS), and Lindsay Jones of National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD).

Apps for Students With Special Needs—As School Buildings Shutter


The coronavirus creates a unique challenge for students with special needs—educators share recommendations for apps to support learning at home.

COVID-19: Helping families with special needs during a public health crisis


As a mother of a daughter with autism and intellectual disabilities, as well as a professional in the human services field, I am all too familiar with the unique challenges facing families of individuals with special needs. The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic brings additional worry. In these unprecedented and uncertain times, there are many steps families and caregivers can take – such as the ones listed below – to provide reassurance to children and adults living with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences. 

With Schools Closed, Kids With Disabilities Are More Vulnerable Than Ever


With school closed, Marla Murasko begins her morning getting her 14-year-old son, Jacob, dressed and ready for the day. They have a daily check-in: How are you doing? How are you feeling? Next, they consult the colorful, hourly schedule she has pinned on the fridge.Jacob, who has Down syndrome, loves routine. So this daily routine is important. Schools in Hopkinton, Mass., are closed until May 4th, so Jacob's morning academic lesson — which according to the schedule starts at 9 a.m. — has been temporarily moved to the basement.

How Parents, Teachers Educate Students with Disabilities During COVID-19


Marcella Roberts is not concerned that her son Joshua, who has Down syndrome, will show signs of regression during the COVID-19 public health crisis. In fact, he hasn’t missed a beat. “My son has a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, and an instructional support teacher, in addition to his regular teacher, who he connects with via Zoom meetings,” she said. Roberts and her husband, Kevin, are both lawyers, and both are working from home like many professionals. They also spend time making sure their two sons, Joshua and his twin brother Kendal, turn in their assignments on time, as well as spend face-to-face time with Joshua to make sure he gets what he needs.

How are we going to do this?': Students with special needs could slip behind


Leah Spring is mother to seven children with special needs ranging from Down syndrome to autism. She sees herself as ultra-organized and capable, but the last few weeks of distance learning have been far from easy. “The first day was rough,” Spring said. “I cried about five times going, ‘How are we going to do this, and for how long are we going to do this? And I don’t really want to do this.’” 

Four Big Questions About Teaching Kids With Special Needs In The Age Of Coronavirus


The meeting Marano is trying to schedule isn't special. It happens every year — not only for Marano's son, but for all 795,000 "students with disabilities" in California. And it's exactly the venue for parents and teachers to talk over the questions Marano's asking: Is my son making progress? Is he in the right classes?

But on April 1, the school's principal told Marano she'll have to wait. L.A. Unified is still figuring out an equitable way to hold perhaps as many as 70,000 of these meetings remotely — and on-schedule. (Marano's son's special education plan expires at the end of May.) "It leaves us," Marano said, "in a very uncertain territory." For students with disabilities, these are uncertain times. Their parents, teachers and school districts now face daunting questions about how to handle the crisis.

How my son’s school helped me navigate his special education needs during COVID-19


Parenting during COVID-19 can feel overwhelming. While managing worries about our family’s health, financial and emotional well-being, we were also responsible for homeschooling and ensuring our children continued learning, which is a heavy weight to carry. As we navigated these pressures, I gained a newfound appreciation for the invaluable role our schools and teachers played as true partners in helping to lighten this load.

After COVID, we will need greater investments in special education


Most educators are well acquainted with the phenomenon known as “summer brain drain,” which refers to the learning loss that many students experience during the summer break from school. Researchers estimate that students can lose an average of two to three months of learning proficiency in math and reading.

Special Education Rights During COVID-19 Pandemic


t’s amazing how our lives have changed in two weeks. Many of us now find ourselves not only working from home, but now balancing that with keeping our children engaged in home learning—whether through Family Equality’s virtual event calendar, other online resources and inspiration, or structured distance learning and instruction provided by your school. As a parent of two elementary school-aged children in Virginia, where schools are closed, I am personally grateful for the resources that our teachers and administrators have made available, as well as online communities of parents and educators who are sharing ideas of how to incorporate creativity into learning while remaining mindful of our kids’ social, emotional, and mental health (as well as our own as parents!).

Special Education Advocacy During COVID-19


Families are under unprecedented stress as they grapple with the impacts of school closures. Many are worried about what will happen with their child’s education when school resumes. For children with Asperger profiles who depend on the routine and structured environment at school, these times are especially difficult. AANE Child and Teen services is here to support you, whether with problem solving ways to implement learning at home or how to work remotely with your child’s special education team. This article will address some of the common concerns we’re hearing from parents and provide advocacy recommendations to help your child.

Special Education teachers are coming up with new ways to help their students through COVID-19


Staff members know that not everyone has the internet, so they also FaceTime students and parents.

Are Special Education Services Required in the Time of COVID-19?


This is a difficult and complicated time for everyone. With school closures across the country, many children and families are experiencing particularly challenging circumstances. This article aims to provide clarifying information on the implementation of special education law during this crisis to assist lawyers in ensuring the educational rights of your clients.  

Covid-19’s Impact on Students’ Academic and Mental Well-Being


The pandemic has shone a spotlight on inequality in America: School closures and social isolation have affected all students, but particularly those living in poverty. Adding to the damage to their learning, a mental health crisis is emerging as many students have lost access to services that were offered by schools. No matter what form school takes when the new year begins—whether students and teachers are back in the school building together or still at home—teachers will face a pressing issue: How can they help students recover and stay on track throughout the year even as their lives are likely to continue to be disrupted by the pandemic?

Accessibility ideas for distance learning during COVID-19


The massive shift towards distance learning presents many challenges for students, educators and guardians alike. But supporting students who have disabilities or require a hands-on approach in the classroom is an even greater challenge. Educators around the world are putting in long days to find creative ways to support all students in this new setting, especially students with disabilities. Here are some tips on using accessibility features to support all learners.