Distance Learning Presents Unique Challenges to Special Education

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Learning from a distance has been an adjustment for most Kentucky families, but can present some unique challenges for teachers and students in Jefferson County’s ECE (Exceptional Child Education) Program. In week two of NTI (Non-Traditional Instruction), the staff is adjusting to best serve the needs of children and their families.

Learning virtually can mean making tools like communication boards at home from household objects, or logging onto the internet for physical therapy via telehealth conference. Last week, teachers at Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary delivered items to students’ houses to help them at home. 

“There’s a lot of activities that the students can do. There’s gonna be some preparation before actual teaching and learning begins with some of these students, to make sure that they can communicate appropriately,” says ECE Chief Kim Chevalier. 

Chevalier acknowledges there are federal rules the special needs program must comply with, but is encouraging teachers to go “slow and steady.” 

“You really just need to be calm and make sure that you make connections with parents and students. The instruction will come but we have to be flexible on scheduling,” she explains, “slow and steady is what I tell [teachers]. Just take your deep breaths and make sure to connect with kids. The compliance will come, as far as be patient on the meetings. Sometimes we might miss some deadlines. It’s okay. We need to be on the student schedule and on the family schedule right now.”

Jefferson County Public Schools are operating on NTI days through at least May 1. On Tuesday night, the Board of Education met virtually and voted to approve the proposed calendar to hold the last instructional day of the year for students on Wednesday, June 3.