Ask the Experts

Q: “Should We Update My Child’s IEP for Online Learning Hurdles?”

Schooling as we know it has changed with online learning. Should your child’s IEP accommodations follow suit? Perhaps – but consider other possibilities as well.

Illustration of a parent and child using a laptop

Q: “Do you recommend getting IEP goals changed while we are learning online? I’m a working parent and I would like to go over my child’s work in the evening before they turn it in, so I’m thinking we should request extra time to do that. I am getting push back from some teachers when I request extensions, so I’m thinking we need to formally update the IEP.”

I’ve been inundated with questions like this since the pandemic hit as we all continue to navigate distance or virtual learning. If your child’s learning environment or situation has changed, their IEP accommodations need to change as well. So my short answer is… yes!

Here is the longer answer: As the parent, you are in charge now. You know what is best for your child; what’s working and what’s not. You have a front-row seat to what supports and scaffolding are needed. So you get to set the priorities and the agenda. And those should be clearly communicated to not only her teachers but to her guidance counselor and the head of special education who oversees her IEP.

However, I do have a few questions. If your child needs you to check their work every evening – whether you are a working parent or not – my antenna goes up.

Were you checking her work every night during in-person learning? Were there specific accommodations (one-on-one help, special resource room, etc.) in place prior to distance learning that are now missing? If so, why or how didn’t those translate to the home learning environment?

What I’m trying to get at is this: Checking your child’s work every night might be a bandage covering up a greater issue. A closer look at her IEP goals and accommodations as a whole may be warranted.

Request a virtual meeting with everyone on your child’s “team” so you can communicate to them the struggles you are seeing at home and brainstorm with them some effective solutions and strategies that support your child during the school day. And if you would like to read up on some useful and specific accommodations for distance learning, please check out this ADDitude Magazine article from my colleague Carly Goldrich-Wolf.

Good Luck!

Accommodations for Online Learning: Next Steps

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