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Thursday, January 27, 2022

How online education serves special needs students

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Over the past few years, the pandemic made online education the de-facto schooling format for nearly all Americans. While it proved viable for many, it also exposed some of the common pitfalls in the traditional online education landscape, leading to a common perception that online education formats don’t yield the same level of instruction and retention for students. However, this belief is often misguided or a direct result of imperfect execution by school systems that struggle to adapt to a virtual format.  

As an educator in the online format since the outset of my teaching career in 2013, I firmly believe that with the right practices and systems in place, there are in fact many ways in which online education offers a more supportive, inclusive, and personalized learning experience–especially for typically overlooked or isolated students, such as those with special education needs and IEPs.

Online education can offer an inclusive and discreet experience for special education students that optimizes their potential and boosts their academic performance, personal confidence, and overall growth as a student.

An important aspect of learning for all students is the student’s perception of themselves as a learner. Learning experiences can either empower a student or reinforce a negative self-perception. For example, the all-too-common phrases “I’m not as smart as them,” or “I’m not good at school,” embody this phenomenon, perpetuating negative trends like low participation or disengagement in the day’s lesson plan.

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