Transitioning Back into School Online and at Home
Online schooling at home is not ideal for students who have attentional/focusing and learning challenges. The key to navigating the following school year for most students is going to take a combination of managing stress and anxiety and developing systems to be organized and manage their time. Parents will need to be proactive and plan to put in support systems, be realistic with expectations and be creative in how to help their children be successful with their academics, social, behavioral, physiological, spiritual and emotional development.
The 4th quarter of the 2019-2020 school year found much of the Country and much of the world shifting from in person classes to at home, online classes virtually overnight. Teachers were not trained or prepared nor were students and parents and no one knew what to expect, day-to-day. Fortunately, teachers and students and their peers did know each other already.
As we enter the 2020-2021 school year, most students and teachers will be starting the year off similar to the way last year ended, with a significant difference. The change is expectations, last year was a “patch job”, a “band-aid” with little expectations, this year teachers are better prepared and students and parents will be held even more accountable to “get to class” and get the work done, on time. However, the students and the teachers, mostly, will not know each other already.
Students that have IEP’s and 504 Plans or those who should have them are going to be exceptionally challenged going into this unique start of the school year. Students who learn a-bit differently than their peers will be unknown to their teachers. Parents and students will have to advocate to the teachers to get their needs met. Support services and accommodations and modifications provided in school along with auxiliary services will be challenging to obtain.
The next few blog articles I write over the coming weeks will have scientifically-based interventions and suggestions to help our students decrease anxiety, increase their self-advocacy skills and develop their executive functioning skills (time management, organization, avoiding procrastination, etc). In the meantime, I suggest parents and students work on connecting with teachers, provide the student a dedicated “school” area and parents, write your child’s teachers a 1-page letter giving them insight into your child’s strengths and challenges, open that line of communication NOW!
Dr. Eric J. Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed., A.S.D.C., is a Developmental and Behavioral Specialist and since 2012 has been the Founder and President of the Support For Students Growth Center in Boca Raton, FL, where they provide social, academic, behavioral and emotional support services online Nationwide.