Special Education and Teleconferencing Therapies: The New Reality in Times of Pandemic

The special education student learns differently and, likewise, requires different strategies to achieve it.

The cancellation of classes by the pandemic caused by coronavirus has led schools of regular private and public education to use the technology to provide their educational services through teleconferencing and modules. The modules are developed by the child's teachers and parents take care that they work at home, so that they do not miss the school semester.

However, modules are not the ideal tool when it comes to special education students, because modules require strategies and techniques to learn that only a teacher can implement to help that student. The special education student learns differently and, likewise, requires different strategies to achieve it.

How can special education children be helped during social isolation?

It is important to establish that the challenge of these students is to retain what is taught. After a break of only two weeks, they often lose skills learned, so a prolonged recess, such as the one expected by the pandemic, puts these students at risk of losing the skills worked during the school year.

To help this school population, more than any other, services, both educational and therapy, are required by the teleconference modality. Modules, except in subjects such as art, are not easy to implement in this population, so they require specialized education according to their diagnosis. Many parents will show some resistance to this modality of teaching, however, it has many advantages.

What are the advantages of virtual education?

· It helps children establish a curriculum that allows them to continue learning at the same pace of work when classes resume on campus.

· Home learning provides for better behavior because it will give you structure.

· It lowers the level of anxiety in children because they can see their peers and teachers again after an abrupt, unansusable separation.

· Provides for parents to become more involved in their children's education.

· It serves as a form of training because parents will see the teaching techniques teachers use to teach their child and will be able to use some to follow up at home.

· Keep children from missing the school semester.


The same applies to many of the therapies the student may be receiving, such as speech and language therapies. The decision to cancel them for a long time, as is expected to happen, is devastating and will affect them even more than academically, because they need to continue to develop communication and auditory compression skills, necessary for any area of human chore.

In the case of teleconference therapies, they must be modified to be more creative and thus capture the child's attention. In addition, they must be in individual, one-to-one, non-group, to safeguard the privacy of each child.

The biggest advantage of distance therapy is the clear involvement of parents. Research has reported that children whose parents are more involved in therapies and follow up at home, progress significantly more than those who do not. A parent attending virtual therapy is more likely to follow up on what worked on it than one who doesn't even know what's working on therapy, and if he knows it, has no idea how that skill is stimulated.

We are living a time of challenges for all and we must be flexible to adjust to it. The Department of Education (DE) should educate parents more about the benefits of teleconference education because ignorance generates mistrust and resistance.

This applies to both educational aspects, regular education and special education, and includes, in turn, children registered in the DE who attend private schools, since the public system does not have a suitable location for them, even if the DE pays for the service. In addition, parents must accept the integration of education and distance therapies so that children can continue their education and therapies, and thus avoid a setback that affects their school learning and skills development. Resistance to change can close a door of opportunity that these children need right now.