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Supporting Families through Distance Learning

In the wake of Covid-19, parents have been put in the driver’s seat of their child’s learning. Some parents will find this transition to be easier than others, but parents of children receiving special education services will be put in an especially difficult position. For a large group of thesestudents, it takes quite a lot of targeted support to thrive educationally. Special education teachers have spent months of this school year trying to assess, accommodate, and modify their way to an academic and behavioral program that supports their students.

Personally, my team and I have spent this year with a new group of students. For months we have put blood, sweat, and tears into this crew in the hopes of engaging them in a high level achievement. I’m happy to say we achieved this, but are now reeling from the loss of having direct access to our students, and what that may mean for the future. I’ve gotten quite emotional over the past couple of weeks swirling with these thoughts...but that’s a discussion for another day.

For this post, I’d like to dive into the support we, as teachers, can provide for our families during this unique time. The reality is that a whole host of students will be fighting with their parents daily when asked to perform academically. These behaviors could be mild or quite severe. Since we’ve spent so much time targeting them and providing supportive strategies to address them, we've got the inside track! So, let’s give the parents all of the knowledge we are armed with. The last thing we want is for parents to feel even more under-prepared and overwhelmed than they already are. Families are our greatest asset to support special education students in the classroom. Now, we have the opportunity to fulfill this role in reverse. The best we can do is provide the opportunity. We do not control how, or if, it is used. Yet, there is power in connection and offering support for families struggling with this massive shift in their lives; and this is quite a powerful form of it.

By communicating with families in this way we accomplish more than just the hope our students will continue to make academic progress. We lay the foundation for continued, open lines of communication, we show our integrity and willingness to support the entire family, and we are able to establish ourselves as the knowledgeable professionals we are. Acknowledge the difficulties families face right now and encourage them to continue their efforts. Of course, academics are not the only priority right now. We want to ensure our students’ emotional wellbeing are the main priority, as well. In supporting the entire family, we set the stage for greater positivity within the educational framework.

Here is an example of some strategies I’ll be sharing with families!

You will undoubtedly have your own list, which I encourage you to share with parents. Download the free editable google slide to make it work for you! Add your own strategies, tips, and information you use daily to support your kids. This is the perfect time to solidify the relationship between you and your students’ families. Provide them the support they are desperately needing during this time and encourage them to keep moving ahead!

Let me know what unique ways you’re supporting your families!

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