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Explore practical examples from the field of how educators are adapting to serve all students in the era of remote learning. Educators share technical descriptions of how they are working to move from face-to-face to at-a-distance learning with reflections and lessons learned about their experiences. These cases are for the field and we will continue to add more - use the forum to tell us what kinds of practical examples you need!

Please note: We have gathered stories and examples from schools and educators working hard to continue educating students with disabilities in the rapidly evolving situation around COVID-19. Our aim is to share information and inspire potential ways educators may incorporate these approaches in their individual school settings. While we know everyone is working hard and doing their best, we also have to recognize that, in the interest of getting information out to the field as expeditiously as possible, these approaches are too early to demonstrate outcomes and/or an evidence base prior to sharing. We are learning together.

Leading by example.

Kim Hymes

Special Educators Serve as a Source of Stability in Uncertain Times

This case study describes a special educators journey through online learning outlining how her journey was made successful with the help of parents, and school leaders. She describes specific steps she took to keep the student at the center of their learning in the virtual environment.

Sarah Barnes-Shulman

Planning Alternative Futures With Hope: Connecting Students to Their Goals and Dreams at a Distance

Checking in with students is extra important during distance learning and the pandemic. This case study describes how educators can turn the act of checking in with students into a deeper and more tangible empathy-building opportunity. This practical guidance can help ensure that we meet the social and emotional needs of students while also making progress on learning goals and responding to the needs of the entire family.

Brenda Diaz, EdD

Changing and Learning Together

In this case study, a principal describes critical strategies to surface and learn about the experiences of staff, students, and families during distance learning. Learnings about strengths and challenges of the online approach during closure are discussed, along with plans for transition back to face-to-face, hybrid, or further online learning.

Rachel Honore

Supporting Communities During the Pandemic

This case study highlights how a community organization stepped in to improve families’ access to community resources. It details specific resources that were made available to families and children and how the community organization worked with school districts to make sure students’ basic needs were being met.

Caroline Teague, Yvonne Story, and Jodi Goodhue

Co-Teaching Virtually: A Model to Support All Learners

Two eighth-grade teachers discuss the success they have found in co-teaching in a distance learning setting during the pandemic. They highlight collaboration strategies to create an accessible and mutually supportive teaching model for math instruction that engages all learners.

by Kate Cushing, Emily Fernandez, and Natalie Quesada on April 8th 2020

Flexible Mindsets to Change: Navigating the Challenges of Shifting Contexts for Learning

Three staff members of a charter management organization discuss how they implemented and continue to update a plan to provide a comprehensive learning environment for all students. They discuss the importance of a flexible mindset, their efforts to create a sense of culture for students and staff, and how they approach challenges with translating special education services to a virtual environment.

by Kareem Neal

The Opportunity for Stronger Connection to Your School Community

A high school special education teacher who teaches in a self-contained classroom discusses positive changes to his practice and classroom community during distance learning. He describes practical tips for strengthening communication in classrooms where the first language of many parents is not English, while also improving overall relationships with your classroom community.

by Anonymous Paraprofessional on April 15th 2020

Meeting Students Where They Are: Strategies for Adapting Services for Students with Disabilities

A paraprofessional at a rural high school discusses how she has adapted her services to a virtual learning environment. She shares specific strategies she has used with her three students, who have social and emotional disorders, significant physical disabilities and dyslexia, respectively. She discusses how she has tailored her services not only to accommodate her students’ disabilities, but to their individual levels of motivation and interest as well.

by Jessica Tunney, PhD

Inclusion in Remote Learning: It Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All

A principal and executive director of an inclusive charter school describes a case-by-case approach to special education in the virtual environment and reflects on elements of virtual learning that can be carried forward into the brick and mortar setting. Key takeaways about educating English Language Learners remotely are shared.

by Lanya McKittrick, PhD

Providing Services to Students who are Deafblind: Coming together as a field

In this case study, an expert in special education and mother of a child who is deafblind describes replicable strategies that can be leveraged with deafblind students in distance learning. The author uses her family’s experience to discuss the struggles deafblind students face when moving to the virtual learning world, as well as the potential of the distance learning experience for students who are deafblind.

by Nicole Abera

Supporting Students with Significant Needs in Distance Learning

A school leader at a full-time special education day school discusses critical strategies for distance learning with students who have significant needs. Transitioning technology, communicating with parents, establishing routines, prioritizing engagement, and implementing many ways for students to show what they know as learning demands are increased are addressed with illustrative examples.

by Shira Moskovitz

Social Emotional Growth through Academic Content for All Students

This case study describes the experiences of a fifth-grade special education teacher in New York City as she works to support her students’ basic and social-emotional needs—as well as their need for academic process during distance learning. She reflects on her experience and specific strategies, and she describes her classroom’s transformative experience during a unit on poetry.

Practice based models.

by Amy Schwab, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist at AIM Academy

Using Pets to Meet Occupational Therapy Goals in the Virtual Setting

This case study explores the calming and motivating presence of pets during virtual learning, particularly within the context of school-based occupational therapy. In it, an occupational therapist talks about the benefits of leveraging students’ surroundings in their virtual environments to keep students engaged.

by Kimberly Bradley, MS, LOTR

Occupational Therapy in the Park: A Creative, Socially Distant Solution for a Child With a Learning Disability and ADHD

An occupational therapist describes her solution for a student who was responding negatively to virtual lessons: They met up for a socially distant lesson in a local park. She describes the strategies she put in place and how she used the surroundings to make a meaningful and engaging lesson. She also highlights the ways that face-to-face practices don’t always need to be in an office or a school to be successful.

by Alison Forger

Uplifting Student Voices: Using Accessible Templates and Tools for Virtual Presentations

This case study describes a middle school special education teacher’s creative solutions for pushing students to create and virtually present using Google Slides in a self-contained classroom. Students present projects they develop and are proud of during the time of distance learning. The use of paced Google Slides templates, word banks, sentence starters, select-to-speak tools, and videoconferencing replicate the types of accommodations and supports students would (and need to) have in the classroom.

by Rebecca Eisenberg

A Study in Augmentative Communication in Distance Learning

This case study describes a speech and language pathologist’s experience supporting a middle school student with complex communication needs and behavioral challenges. Strategies for mapping student needs to clinician strategies are discussed, with an emphasis on how to leverage student agency in the teletherapy process. The use of augmentative communication in distance learning is explored.

by Julie Luzier, MS, CCC-SLP

The Push-In Model in a Virtual Classroom

This case study describes a speech-language pathologist’s transition from face-to-face push-in sessions to an online push-in format in virtual classrooms. Technology resources and new strategies are trialed with a middle school–age student working on writing and comprehension at a school for students with language-based learning differences. Screen sharing, breakout rooms, chat feature, whiteboard features, and Google programs are discussed.

by Gavin Jenkins & Mary Courtney

Chemistry at Home: Accessible Experiments and Science Literacy

This case study describes an inclusive highschool chemistry classroom, and use of Google Forms, Newsela and video tutorials to support all students learning from home. Practitioners describe an accessible weekly approach to distance science learning that emphasizes hands-on experimentation, the use of common house-hold materials, student explanation, and the development of science literacy.

by Brittany Moser

Transforming the Parent-Teacher Relationship in Remote Learning

Brittany Moser, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) coach at Neighborhood Charter Schools, shares a resource aimed at partnering families and schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this case study, Brittany shares how her resource, “Tips and Tricks for Remote Learning,” became a foundational launchpad for supporting families in educating their children remotely.

by Juliana Urtubey, supported by co-teacher Jessica Penrod

Growth Mindset and Mindfulness at a Distance

This inclusive class is designed to help students manage the emotions of daily life and school. During distance learning, we can help our students find helpful strategies to center themselves when they’re feeling big emotions. We can also use this time to continue to build community and relationships so that students feel it’s safe to come to us when they need their teacher’s support.

by Sabrina Veo with support from Alyssa Boucher

Remote Parent Coaching

This case study describes a virtual Speech and Language Pathology session focused on language and social pragmatics. Clinicians describe working with a kindergarten student with autism and challenges with language. The use of Zoom, online animated story books, and digital manipulatives are described.

by Nicole Amato with support from Alyssa Boucher April 5th, 2020

A Virtual Session: Language & Social Pragmatics

This case study describes a virtual Speech and Language Pathology session focused on language and social pragmatics. Clinicians describe working with a kindergarten student with autism and challenges with language. The use of Zoom, online animated story books, and digital manipulatives are described.

by Rachel Currie Rubin on April 5th 2020

Multisensory Reading Instruction

This case study describes an example of multisensory reading instruction implemented through a distance learning approach. The practitioner describes working with a first grade student with a diagnosis of dyslexia and significant reading difficulty. The use of video conferencing to support strategies like modeling, family coaching/support and game-based learning are described.

by Rachel Currie Rubin on April 5th 2020

Middle School Math: Graphing Virtually

This case study describes a virtual math support session focused on learning to graph from an equation in slope-intercept form and anxiety mitigation. The practitioner describes working with a seventh grade student with a diagnosis of dyscalculia. The use of Zoom, a magnetic whiteboard in lieu of a life-sized coordinate plane, google docs as a shared virtual notebook, and video tutorials to support learning and teaching are described.

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