Distance learning. It’s no picnic under the best of circumstances. Add in an IEP or 504 Plan though and it’s suddenly a whole lot larder. But you CAN take charge with these easy accommodations for distance learning.
9 Easy Ask Accommodations for Distance Learning
In “normal” times, you’d be advocating hard for your child’s in-school services and supports. But this isn’t normal and your child’s school now happens in your house.
You should still be advocating for your child to receive supports for their IEP or 504 Plan. The requests you’re putting on the table and the way the plan is being delivered will need to change. Even the way you’re meeting and communicating is different now. Virtual meetings and everything happening over email is basically the norm, am I right?
Learn how to talk to the teacher about IEPs and 504 Plans during the pandemic!
You’re going to want to request this super easy accommodations for distance learning to help your child while also keeping the teacher on your side.
1. To-Do Lists & Checklists
Even IF your child is of an age where learning independence is a thing, if we’re being honest, you’re still going to be double-checking their work right now. Just to be sure, right?
Ask the teacher to help you help them with a to-do list or checklist.
Ideally, the to-do list would be for a few days, a week or even a month. It would detail what assignments are assigned and when they are due. If there are daily routines that need to happen, like read every day for 20 minutes, having a spot for these is also helpful
Score a FREE done-for you distance learning weekly schedule right here!
This can be done quickly using Google Sheets, Docs or Forms. Check out a checklist example in Google Forms. Or maybe the online learning platform the school is using has a checklist or turn-it in tracker built right in.
Either way, ask about this easy accommodation for distance learning.
2. Shortened Assignments
Getting your child to do anything right now can be a lot. But especially when you’re navigating an unfamiliar learning platform or trying to juggle your own work with their school, doing a longer assignment can be extra challenging.
Ask for shortened assignments. It’s one of my favorite easy accommodations for distance learning.
Basically, it’s the same work – just less of it. For example, 5-10 math problems instead of 15-20+. Or writing 3 sentences instead of 5, 2 paragraphs instead of 4.
This is a really easy request because it’s actually simple for the teacher to do. And it makes less work for them in the long run, with fewer problems to grade.
3. Extended Deadlines
Asking for extra time to do work isn’t unreasonable. Remember, you’re all working on new platforms and programs. And juggling way more things than normal, all in the same space.
Stuff takes longer to get through. Ask the teacher if your child can have some extra time.
Reasonable asks are for an extra school day, until the end of the week, or even up to 5 extra school days. This gives your child extra time to complete assignments.
It’s a simple ask because it’s reasonable. Allowing your child extra time will only improve the chances of a better grade!
4. Advance Assignments
On the other side of extra time is getting things ahead of schedule. This gives your child extra days to do the work, but keeps the same deadline as the rest of the class.
You can ask for work to be shared as far in advance as possible, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll be in the know the month before. Instead, expect to get advance work anywhere from 2 school days to a week in advance.
This helps your child score higher or show what they know with extra time to work and ask questions.
5. Easy Assignment Alterations
Not every assignment makes sense for every kid. For example, not all kids can tolerate writing or typing. Explaining things in essay format isn’t ideal for every child either.
There are tons of other ways to show what they know with quick swaps. Try these:
- Record video or audio instead of written responses
- Draw pictures and scan them to send a PDFs
- Listen to audiobooks instead of silent reading
The sky is kind of the limit, within reason, when asking to make an assignment swap like this. It’s smart because your child is still showing the same skills, just in a different way.
Get help navigating IEPs and 504 Plans – book a session with Meg today!
6. Virtual Therapy Sessions for Kids
Full disclosure: not all therapies will be a good fit for this type of session. Mostly it’s because, frankly, you do need to be in-person for some things to be effective.
And sometimes you’ll get a “No” on this ask, but I’ll tell you how to pivot in just a sec.
Some services that might actually be ideal for include:
- Academic support
- Speech-Language Therapy
- Social Skills
For kids who are working on less hands-on skills, having a virtual check-in can be great!
7. Virtual Therapy Sessions for Parents
Truth time (again): not all therapies or services are ideal for kids to receive virtually. However, parents CAN often benefit from having touch-ins to learn ways to keep supporting kids even during distance learning.
From ABA to Speech to OT or PT, practically every therapy is a good fit for parents to have available virtually. You can meet with the therapist via video conferencing. Once you’re connected, the therapist or service provider can give you actionable advice to do at home.
That way you can keep up with the skills they’ve been learning at school. Now you’re not going to be doing anything “new” in these therapies – either in sessions for kids or parents. But having support like this can help prevent some of the regression that comes with a major change in learning routines and extended time away from school.
8. Extra Time with the Teacher – Virtually
Not everything is going to easily understood via hands-off distance learning. Having time during the week for your child to connect via video chat, 1:1 with the classroom teacher or another adult involved in their education, is critical.
This gives your child a chance to ask questions about assignments and content or skills. Plus, if you listen in on the sessions (which you 100% should!) you might also snag some sweet teaching support tips!
It’s one of the easy accommodation asks because it just makes sense. Plus, it’s not a huge time commitment for anyone during the week. Just have 1-2 video chats for about 15-30 minutes weekly – easy peasy.
9. Resources for Reteaching at Home
In the classroom, the teacher has tons of resources to help cement concepts or share the skill in a different way. They can (and will) do the groundwork themselves by reteaching everything until the student understands. Or the teacher might turn to their favorite online resources.
Ask the teacher to share his or her favorite places to get that extra educational content. Ideal ways to share are right in the lesson assignment or in a spreadsheet, broken down by subject area or even by unit and chapter.
Having a full breakdown of this information will help you to cut to the chase and avoid spending hours looking for ways to teach the topic(s) yourself. Plus, having a trusted online “teacher” can totally come through in a pinch – like when math concepts are just outside of your own confidence zone or you’re just not sure if your Spanish translation skills are on par.
Check out these online learning websites we love!