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Modifying an IEP or 504 for Distance or Hybrid Learning

As the year begins with distance or hybrid learning at most schools, many parents are worried that pre-pandemic IEP plans may leave kids without vital services. If you’re concerned your child is struggling, it might be time to make some additions to your child’s plan to incorporate remote learning accommodations.

Here’s a sample of how you can help your child get the support they need, whatever this school year brings.

Start by collaborating with teachers

With many kids at home at least some of the time, teachers are relying on parents to help them understand what students need.

If you notice your child is struggling, start by reaching out to their teacher and giving a detailed explanation of the problem. Then, ask for any strategies or solutions you can try at home. Check back in a week or two with an update on what worked and what didn’t. Just working through solutions together can go a long way, even without any formal changes to your child’s accommodations.

Stay focused on what your child needs

Advocating for the support your child needs during remote learning is important, but you’re more likely to receive additional accommodations if you’re reasonable with your requests. Before the meeting, carefully consider what additional supports are most necessary for your child’s learning.  Don’t be afraid to include your child’s teachers, therapists and support staff in the process and ask for suggestions that might help during remote learning.

Talk about what services will look like

“The remote learning plan should include how your child’s services will be delivered so that it’s supportive of your child,” says Jodi Musoff, MA, MEd, an educational specialist at the Child Mind Institute. That way, you’ll be clear not just on what the accommodations are but how they’ll look in practice. Some examples of changes could be:

  • Paraprofessionals
  • Resource room services
  • Adaptations for processing speed and executive functioning deficiencies

Adjust the amount screen time

Many children are struggling with the amount of time they’re required to spend looking at a screen during remote learning. The concentration required and amount of virtual work can be difficult, especially when it’s mainly accessed and completed on a screen instead of by hand.

If your child struggles with completing and submitting work online, request printable versions of worksheets via email or ask that they be mailed to your home. Once the work is complete, take pictures of each page and email them to the teacher. Alternatively, you could request that your child speak and record their answers and then email them to the teacher.

Include additional emotional support

If you’re concerned the amount of work is contributing to your child’s emotional distress try asking if the teacher can modify the assignments. If they aren’t willing to do so, then request this accommodation on their distance learning plan.

Excerpted from “Modifying an IEP or 504 for Distance or Hybrid Learning” from Child Mind Institute. Read the details on these and other recommendations in the full article.

Source: Child Mind Institute | Modifying an IEP or 504 for Distance or Hybrid Learning, |© 2020 Child Mind Institute, Inc.