This spring, when schools closed and teachers struggled to shift to online learning, some students were left behind. Many of them were students with special needs. Now that schools are starting up for the fall, whether in person, online, or a hybrid of the two, families with special needs students may be worried their child will be left behind again. The Child Mind Instituteprovides some advice for those families on how to modify a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan.

As the article notes, IEPs and 504 plans are not carved in stone. They are meant to be adjusted as your child’s needs change. Now, at the start of the school year, is the time to revisit your child’s education supports and make adjustments for however the school year develops.

The article lays out six steps in reviewing your child’s support plan:

  • Start by collaborating with teachers
  • Stay focused on what your child really needs
  • Talk about what services will look like
  • Adjust the amount of screen time to what your child can manage
  • Include additional emotional support
  • Be patient and persistent

The article also encourages families to document how their child handled distance learning in the spring and into the fall, including communications with teachers, therapists, and the district; missed services; and what you’re witnessing at home. You can also consider adding a remote learning plan to your child’s support needs.

If you have a child with special needs, be sure to read the full article to learn how you can better advocate for your child’s needs this school year.

Photo © 2011 by BBrookins55 under Creative Commons license.