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Monday, November 23, 2020

Special Ed and COVID-19

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the day-to-day challenges facing autistic people and their families. Those challenges get far more intense during disasters.  And coronavirus is proving to be the biggest disaster of all. Providing education and social services is proving to be very difficult

The Government Accountability Office has a report titled "DISTANCE LEARNING Challenges Providing Services to K-12 English Learners and Students with Disabilities during COVID-19."

[A] variety of factors complicated the delivery of special education services during distance learning, according to officials from the four districts selected by GAO and representatives of national organizations of school administrators and service providers. Such factors included: the wide range of needs of students with disabilities served under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA); the services specified in their individualized education programs; and the capacity of parents or caregivers to assist teachers and service providers in delivering general education, specialized instruction, and related services to their children. Delivering related services—such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, or speech therapy—for students with complex needs was particularly difficult to do remotely. School district officials we spoke with said they successfully addressed some challenges by modifying instruction, holding virtual meetings with parents, and encouraging collaboration between general and special education teachers. For example, some districts altered students’ goals and services in temporary distance learning plans. Officials from two districts told us they are considering using virtual meetings after returning to in-person education and would use them, as warranted, during future school closures