Every single student who shows up to school has a unique set of strengths, weaknesses, and needs. Kids have different learning styles and different interests, and enjoy different subjects. Students with disabilities may have some extra needs in a classroom, but they deserve an exceptional education just like every other student. Thankfully, online schools such as ICON have had great success in accommodating and serving students with special needs.
Types of Special Needs
A student with disabilities can qualify for two different types of accommodation plans. Depending on the disability and the amount of support needed, a student will either qualify for an Individualized Education Plan or a 504 plan.
Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)
An individualized education plan, or an IEP, is a legal document that teachers must follow. Students with one of the 13 intellectual disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are eligible for an IEP. IEPs are in place to protect students and ensure that they get an equal education to their peers.
Teachers, parents, administrators, and sometimes even the student, work together to create the IEP. The IEP will list individualized modifications, accommodations, and goals. Each year, from the time the IEP is in place until the student’s senior year, the IEP is revisited and amended to continue supporting the student.
A 504 plan can be written for a student with any disability, going beyond the 13 disabilities required for an IEP. A 504 is also a legal document to protect students and ensure they have accommodations to help them be successful. A major difference between an IEP and a 504 is that a 504 will follow students into college, whereas an IEP only goes through twelfth grade.
A 504 plan will allow students accommodations, such as extra time on assignments or tests and frequent breaks. However, they will not include interventions or modifications like an IEP would.
Benefits of Online Classes
Parents who have a student with special needs are usually very invested in their child’s education. They have had to meet with teachers and administrators to advocate for their child and ensure that they are receiving an equal education to their peers. Thankfully, there are many different school options that parents can choose for their students. Online education could be the perfect fit for your special needs student.
Traditional classrooms can come with major distractions. Even the most well-trained and well-meaning teachers cannot eliminate every distraction for students with special needs. Students with autism or ADHD can get distracted by what other students would not even notice–bright posters on the wall, the tick-tock of the clock, or a fan that turns on and off. Students with some special needs will have an incredibly difficult time focusing with all of the unintentional distractions that occur in a classroom. For students such as these, online school could be a great option. The parent and their child can work together to create an ideal learning environment, free of distractions.
The duration of time students are able to focus can vary drastically. One student might be able to concentrate on a task for an hour, while the student next to him struggles to focus for five minutes. This ability to focus varies even further when special learning needs are taken into consideration.
Sometimes, special needs students will struggle because they are given ten minutes to complete a task. Even if they receive the extended time, they can become frustrated or embarrassed when they see their peers finishing on time, with ease. Online school offers the flexibility that many special education students need. They can take extra time on assignments or rewatch a recorded lesson that they did not understand.
Further, the student has frequent doctor’s appointments, they will not fall behind from missing class. They can simply adjust their school schedule for the day to accommodate their appointments. If a long-term hospital stay is required, the student can take their device with them and continue their school work. Almost every hospital will have a WiFi network that your child can connect to, and continue their education.
Contact ICON Today!
If you have a special needs student who is struggling to be successful in a traditional classroom, the Idaho Connects Online School is a fantastic option. ICON can help special needs students be successful by eliminating bullying and reducing anxiety.
No longer will your student be lost in a sea of thirty other students, and they will receive an individualized education to match their needs as well as personalized support when they struggle. ICON has the resources and freedom to design and adapt the curriculum to fit your child’s special needs. Contact ICON today to get the process started.