At the speed of light, our world has changed this Spring. The New Normal took over our familiar routines. Uncertainty and fear for loved ones have caused anxiety for both adults and children, teachers and students alike. For children with special needs, this time can be even more stressful. To support the psychological safety for all our children, we have created this top tip list for teachers with special needs students. We hope you find them useful!
Stick to a specific schedule every day; start and end remote teaching at the same time every day.
If there are any activities which you have always done at school during the day, please consider adapting them to your remote teaching routines as well. If there is no previously familiar routine that could be used now, this is a great time to come up with a new one with your students.
How about everyone washes their hands before teaching begins or a round of Feeling Pulse where everyone gets to say how they are feeling this morning. Nice routines bring continuity to the days.
3. Pictures as support:
Depending on the level and nature of the challenges the students have in your class, pictures can be helpful in structuring the school day and instructions.
Pictures could be used, for example, in the morning to present the day’s structure with different lesson topics and breaks and at the same time describe the program verbally. These pictures can be drawn or if you have used pictures to support learning before, consider using the same ones.
4. Clear instructions:
A major challenge for special children in distance learning is self-regulation and independent work. Reduce the workload and do not ask for the same effort as you would ask during normal school days. Give your instructions as clearly as possible so students have a clear picture of what is required of them.
“Do what you can do” or “work according to your own ability” is not the right instructions for a special child especially not in remote learning situations.
5. Positive feedback:
Now if ever students need to be encouraged, and positive feedback is needed. So be sure to praise your students for both small and big successes and help them forward. This can be considered as a routine. For example, every morning run feedback round, where everyone could think one thing they are good at or what character strength they feel is their best strength today.
We would like to hear from you which tips you found most useful and is there any specific area of SEL tools you would like to find out more about. Let us know through firstname.lastname@example.org
Last but not least, this situation is temporary and will not last forever. As a teacher, you are doing a very important job and play a big role in your students’ life. Please also remember it is really important to take care of yourself and rest!