Covid-19 Special Education

Parents Can (and should!) Report Distance Learning Special Education Progress

Parents should report at home or distance learning special education progress to IEP teams and recording their impressions of their children’s progress on IEP goals during school closures due to COVID-19 and resulting remote learning. This sounds complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. If you took specific academic data or behavioral data, or saved work samples, great, include that. If not, your observations are still valuable. You were your child’s main teacher this quarter, and that is worth a lot!  

Here’s what to do:

Take each IEP goal, note the progress monitoring standard, like 80% or 4 out of 5 from the IEP, and use your observations or the data you recorded this spring to write up a progress report to share with the IEP team. This is your distance learning special education progress. One of my amazing clients (a working mother, and now Head Remote Teacher, like so many of us), did it something like this, and it was so great that I wanted to share it:

List the actual IEP Goal

  • Behavioral – Social/Emotional/Behavioral GOAL: By DATE, CHILD will improve his emotional expression and use of coping strategies in 4 out of 5 of the appropriate opportunities as measured by anecdotal records, observations, and daily behavior tracking sheets.

Write out your impressions or data

o   CHILD has improved at identifying his emotions and use his words to communicate emotions he experiences. I have been very impressed with his verbal abilities to state how he is feeling and identify why. When emotionally charged, CHILD would “remove” himself from the online learning session and use a coping skill or go to another space to express his emotions on 3 out of 5 opportunities during remote learning.

If you don’t have that 3 out of 5 “data,” don’t stress. Just write what you observed. Your observations have value.

 Here’s another:

 List the IEP Goal

  • Academic – Reading Comprehension GOAL: By DATE, CHILD will increase his literacy skills in the area of reading comprehension by demonstrating comprehension of grade level texts on 90% of comprehension questions and activities as measured by teacher assessments.

Write out your impressions or data

o   Using printed materials from SCHOOL SYSTEM, we completed reading tasks at a slower pace than probably happens in the classroom. CHILD was initially very frustrated with not being able to decode some of the texts and because of that, he would oftentimes not fully comprehend the material. With one-to-one adult support (adult support means the parent here!) and slower pace, CHILD’s confidence built, and he was able to demonstrate comprehension on approximately 75% of comprehension questions. He also started reading for pleasure for the first time ever!

Note other concerns – Many parents have learned more about their children during this time and can use this to report distance learning special education progress.

o   While CHILD doesn’t currently have a writing goal on his IEP, I want to say that I have observed that he struggles immensely with writing and getting good ideas from his head onto paper. Once I began “scribing” his answers, whether in math or ELA, his temperament and willingness to work dramatically improved, as did his accuracy in math content. When we focused on writing alone, unrelated to completion of other content work, with an adult scribe he was able to isolate the task of writing and get things on paper with a good attitude. I think he needs to have a writing goal on his IEP and a scribe for non-ELA writing tasks on his IEP.

Say what you think needs to change on the IEP!

Get this data and observations to your child’s IEP team. It is critical in establishing progress this quarter during remote learning and should be sent to the IEP team at the school now. It will be important as both a “present level of performance,” for at home special education progress and also to document any lack of progress indicating a need for compensatory (make-up) services that your child may be entitled to due to COVID-19 related school closures. Also, remember that your child’s IEP team is still responsible for reporting their own quarterly special education progress to you during school closures.

If you think you would benefit from the services of an education lawyer or special education advocate, you can schedule a free call HERE.


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