E-Learning & Coronavirus

Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), many of us have been participating in e-learning or virtual learning for several weeks. During that time, we have all learned a lot! We have learned what works, what doesn’t work, and what needs more work. And I daresay many of us have learned how to use new types of technology! You may find the following information helpful as your wrap up your school years and plan ahead for the fall. 

MEETING LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES:

The U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently advised Congress that there was no need to provide any waivers in meeting the needs of students receiving services under IDEA. She reiterated that students with disabilities still have the right to receive a free appropriate public education. DeVos did recommend that a waiver be made to allow toddlers receiving services under Part C have their transition timeline extended if their evaluation dates occur during this window of school closures. For those of you having virtual IEP meetings during this time, check out the Virtual IEP Meeting Tip Sheets created by several programs funded by the Office of Special Education Programs.

 

RESOURCES:

The National Association of the Deaf has released a position statement on Educating PreK-12 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students During the COVID-19 Outbreak. They have also established a webpage dedicated to Deaf Education Resources for all age levels that might be helpful. Communication Services for the Deaf has a variety of COVID-19 resource links available for the Deaf Community, including a communication card for both deaf and deafblind individuals. In addition, the A.G Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has compiled a list of resources for families and educators. And for those of you who work with Spanish speaking families, you might find this resource developed by the Louisiana School for the Deaf Outreach Program useful! And an great opportunity to have a digital pen pal is available at the DHH Teacher IS in.

NON-SCREEN LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

Across Facebook and Twitter, many families have expressed concerns about the amount of time their children are now on a screen to access their education in addition to recreational activities. As teachers plan for and parents support e-learning, it is important to remember the recommended amounts of time for virtual instruction are significantly different that those of in-person instruction. The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards guidelines recommend that “elementary students should have 1-2 hours a day of online instruction, middle school students 2-3 hours, and high school students 3-4 hours.” 

To reduce the amount of screen time required for instruction, consider giving assignments that don’t require the use of a screen. For younger learners, check out this Google Drive folder filled with non-screen Language Challenges. Special thanks to Kelsey Funk for creating and sharing this resource through the Facebook page DHH Preschool Learning at Home. Have a conversation about what you see in picture scenes. And check out the Speech Therapy Store for links to LOTS of freebies!

Read books! Check out Start With a Book for lists of books by age and topic along with activities and non-screen ideas to do at home. Or check out Reading Rockets list of ideas to do before, during, and after reading a book. More information on developing a child’s reading skills can be found at Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss.

Write! Keep a journal of daily activities by writing or drawing, create a lockdown diary, or establish a dialogue journal. Use magnetic letters to create words, write words in shaving cream, or create word labels for various items around the house. Draw pictures and write sentences to create a short story!

Stay active! Check out some fun sensory activities at Hearing Like Me. Go on a scavenger hunt throughout your home or in your neighborhood (here’s a scavenger hunt list for older children). Check out this resource for some outdoor activities that specifically address balance, a common issue for many children who are deaf or hard of hearing. If you have access to outdoor space, take advantage of it with these 50 Simple Outdoor Activities for Kids.

Learning is a part of our every day lives.  Break away from videos and worksheets! Encourage active learning opportunities that don’t rely on a screen. No matter what you choose to do, know that there is ALWAYS an opportunity to promote language development for our deaf and hard of hearing students. As educators, now is a prime opportunity to support parents in creating language-rich environments within their homes!

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