Archive for December, 2020

Reaching families where they are

I had the pleasure of presenting to and facilitating a discussion with Special Education Directors from Mississippi yesterday. While we discussed ways that COVID-19 has altered their work, we touched on the positives and practices that they hope can be retained in the post-pandemic world (increased 1:1 technology, scenario planning for individual students, ability to hold IEP meetings virtually as an option, etc). We also discussed the barriers that schools, districts, and the families they serve are experiencing. When prompted for an example, a Director noted that with the high rates of unemployment and loss of wage assistance benefits, his families are struggling to get food on the table and afford basic necessities. As a result, gas for the car is a luxury and the families struggle to get to the school or district buildings to sign legal forms needed for their children to receive supports. Once aware of this need, staff started going out to the families at their homes to obtain signatures. While a seemingly small step, this is the type of practice that enables students to receive the supports they need as quickly as possible, while also providing a moment of much needed human interaction between school staff and families. To combat absenteeism, we’ve seen the increase of home visits in districts small and large as well. In lieu of regular and frequent interaction at the school building, meeting students and families where they are is necessary and provides immediate and longer-term benefits.

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