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Online Education for Students with Disabilities
posted by: Tamia | March 18, 2020, 06:59 PM   

By Lauren Golubski

The Coronavirus has led to many unprecedented measures this school year, which can lead to anxiety, fear, and confusion as an educator. Specifically, making sure that we are serving our students with disabilities with the correct accommodations and modifications can be challenging with virtual learning. In response, some school districts are remaining closed because they do not feel they best can support students with disabilities. Serving students with disabilities goes beyond the classroom setting as there are laws set in place, such as Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA).



Some pressing questions may be: How do I best serve my students with disabilities from afar? How do I allocate tasks that are culturally relevant and accessible to students with disabilities? How do I comply with the laws of IDEA, Section 504, and ADA? If my school moves to virtual learning, how do I assure that my students with disabilities are receiving required services?


At a stressful time such as this, these changes for your students can be just as hard and challenging, if not more so. Being the leader in the classroom yesterday, today, and tomorrow is still applicable and appreciated by all stakeholders in the learning process. Here are some resources to help support your understanding to allow your students to learn, grow, and understand regardless of the "classroom" setting or the duration of the crisis:


COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel:

The United States Department of Education provides a robust amount of information (resources for elementary, secondary, and higher education, as well as facts from the CDC) best to serve students with disabilities throughout the COVID19 pandemic.


Knowing what you need to know to serve students with disabilities:

National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS) discusses the legal services and civil rights that students with disabilities are required to receive by law. Also, NSCECS provides strategies to educate students with disabilities with virtual/online education, independent study, blended learning, and more.


Legal Frequently Asked Questions on Coronavirus, School Closings, and Special Education: and the National Center for Learning Disabilities have created a frequently asked question to answer common legal questions you may have about special education and other education issues.

If you feel you need more resources regarding lesson plans, instruction, and support, please visit our frequently updated big resource list with a special section devoted to the needs of SPED educators. AAE will continue to be your trusted partner for educational resources and professional development.


Lauren Golubski is the development manager in AAE’s Washington D.C. office. In this role, Lauren helps promote projects and events for AAE members through funding. She received her Bachelor’s from Eastern Michigan University double majoring in Special and Elementary Education.

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