Supporting Individuals with Special Needs in an
Online Learning Environment
As parents continue to balance work, parenting, a pandemic, and their child’s education, many are also preparing themselves for the beginning of school. However, with increasing cases of COVID-19 across the country, parents are faced with the reality that their children will not be able to attend school in person this fall. Many school districts have already decided to push forward with virtual learning, leaving parents of children with special needs—particularly those unable to access online content—to struggle to find support services for their children to replace the programs typically delivered by schools.
The Kadiant team recognizes this need and wants to be an active support system for families with exceptional learners. Together with parents and school districts, Kadiant is equipped to offer different options for establishing the necessary supports to assist client families during remote learning. Dr. Coby Lund, BCBA-D and Region Vice President at Kadiant, has played an active part in this effort. “There’s no doubt, these strange times are very trying for all families—for MY family,” Lund observed, “but they are particularly difficult for families with children with special needs. As more school systems make the difficult decision to pivot to remote learning this fall, such families are struggling with the impact that drastic life change will have on their routines, their ability to work, and their children’s ability to access education and make meaningful progress.”
School, family, and clinical team collaboration
Amongst the solutions is the importance of working to help families and schools implement and deliver Individualized Education Programs (IEP) when school personnel are no longer face-to-face or accessible online (many students with special needs are unable to participate in online instruction and many services for them require in-person interaction). To support the continuation of a students’ IEPs, Kadiant clinicians can work in-home with clients to support remote learning and access to programs.
To maintain these in-person ABA therapy services during school hours, clinicians and behavior technicians can work remotely and collaboratively with the clients’ multidisciplinary IEP teams to assist school districts in delivering Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Though children may not be in the classroom—a change in routine that is often difficult for individuals on the spectrum to manage—clinicians and IEP team members can continue to work together to provide a comprehensive treatment environment aimed at preventing possible regression and facilitating recoupment, when necessary.
Learning and development extends past the classroom as well. Where appropriate, and as local restrictions allow, Dr. Lund and his team have established that limited community-based instruction can further maintain and encourage social and behavioral growth: “We have managed to continue providing intensive ABA services both in home and in clinics; and for some students with online education, we have been able to facilitate and extend access to that programming.”
“We have managed to continue providing intensive ABA services both in home and in clinics; and for some students with online education, we have been able to facilitate and extend access to that programming.”
In the last several months, Kadiant has gained expertise in assisting learners with fundamental skills such as increasing the frequency of hand-washing, wearing masks, and attending to screens. As the pandemic evolves and school districts continuously modify their approach, these skills will allow Kadiant clients to more safely transition back into schools once the time is right.
Kadiant values the safety of our clients and team members above all else and has emerged as a leader within the ABA field for our efforts to maintain ongoing services safely. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our Safety Management Team has worked to ensure that Kadiant’s policies and practices meet local, state, CDC, OSHA, and public health department guidelines that serve to create a safe environment for ABA services to continue. Such practices include daily temperature checks for both the team and family members, limiting the number of team and family members in the treatment setting during sessions, limiting the number of team members working across multiple home sessions, wearing masks, frequent hand washing, training team members, educating caregivers about our process, and temporarily cancelling services per the illness guidelines if a household member or team member is sick.
Remote learning creates unique challenges for children and families across the country, but particularly for those on the autism spectrum. The Kadiant team has committed ourselves to empowering our clients and families to thrive despite the many challenges that COVID-19 poses. For more information on how Kadiant can support you and your family in California, Oregon, Washington, Ohio, Colorado, and Georgia, contact Kadiant at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our website, www.kadiant.com, or schedule a time below to speak with a Kadiant intake specialist.