According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 7.3 million students received special education services in the 2019–20 school year, or 14.5% of the total public school enrollment. These are students identified by teams of professionals as having a disability that adversely affects academic performance and as being in need of special education and related services.
Your child who requires a special education program can attend online public school and maintain his or her Individualized Education Plan (IEP) as a student with a disability. How would going to school online affect disabilities?
- Flexible pacing. Students who need to take more time on coursework are not moved along with a classroom full of other students. For a student with a specific learning disability like dyslexia, this means that he or she can work on building the foundations of reading, taking the time to learn decoding skills in a more confidence-building and nurturing home environment.
- Distraction-free setting. Students with ADHD, anxiety disorders, or sensory-integration issues often find school buildings and classrooms challenging. An online high school for ADHD students, or those with learning disabilities, doesn’t have fluorescent lights, cafeteria smells, chatty peers, classroom transitions, or intercom announcements, which all can be additional burdens and distractions for students with certain types of learning disabilities.
- Controlled peer interaction. Because this is online school with interaction mostly occurring on the computer, in-person get-togethers with peers can be planned, supervised, and contained to specific times. This is especially important for children who may need extra support because of social, emotional, or developmental issues.
Families whose children attend online school are able to leverage the flexible scheduling available in a virtual school environment to customize their students’ socialization so it aligns with their interests, values, and needs.
Lisa Blackstone, whose daughter has disabilities, spoke previously about how thankful she was for online education. “My daughter, Kristian, has autism spectrum disorder and ADHD,” Lisa said. “She has never liked school since K4, and she struggled with all aspects of her educational experience. The typical classroom was so overwhelming for her.
“I enrolled her in third grade in South Carolina Connections Academy with a lot of hesitancy. However, she is simply thriving. She loves her teachers and the LiveLesson® sessions, and really responds to how the lessons are presented. I’m simply amazed and excited for her. She is like a different person since starting, and she can now say that she does love school.