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Schools Playing Catch Up as Students Return to the Classroom

Learning Loss DisabilitiesAs many students participated in some form of remote/virtual learning between March 2020 and spring of 2021 due to the pandemic, parents learned a lot about their child’s specific learning style. For some parents, it was very alarming to learn that their children were struggling. 

For example, Kanisha Aikin from Katy, Texas had suspected her son might have dyslexia. She was not certain until his school closed in March of 2020.  At that point, she got the chance to see her son’s day to day learning experience (Blad, Education Week). Aikin found that not only was her son struggling with blending sounds, but he also had a difficult time retaining information that he had learned just a short time earlier. 

In 2019-2020 the National Center for Education Statistics reported the number of students (ages 3-21) receiving special education services under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was 7.3 million or approximately 14% of all public school students (IES NCES). 

What services did those students receive during remote/virtual learning?  As reported in Education Weekly’s article, The Pandemic Made It Harder to Spot Students with Disabilities. Now Schools Must Catch Up, many students with learning disabilities went unnoticed because the virtual learning environment did not allow teachers daily interaction with the students to gauge their progress. 

Now that classroom teaching is beginning once again, it is necessary, and an ideal time for educators to identify students who are struggling and need assistance. Teachers must also play catch up with those who were identified but did not receive adequate assistance. Educators must ascertain if the student is behind due to a learning difference that must be identified, or if the student is  simply behind due to the virtual learning experience.

What can parents and educators do to help students with learning disabilities and provide support to help students catch up on learning lost during remote learning?

Chalkbeat shares a few strategies to use school wide to specifically focus on catching students up. 

These include: 

  • Extending the school day or school year
  • Providing extra one on one time for students who seem to be struggling
  • Connecting students with the same teachers they had during virtual learning
  • Expand the number of adults available to help students with trauma and mental health needs

Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach, the director of policy and advocacy for the National Association of School Psychologists, wants to ensure the default is not to put students directly into special education. “We are worried about districts and schools using special education as a remedy for what happened in the past year,” Vaillancourt Strobach said. “You want to make sure you are accurately identifying students.” 

The American Rescue Plan is available and provides additional funding for schools to create programs to re-engage students through multi-tiered systems of support that can provide more one to one support. This is not going to be a one size fits all solution going forward as we help students get back on track.

Managing learning loss for such a large time frame, especially for students struggling with ADHD, learning disabilities, etc. is going to be a challenge. Play Attention is here to help! We integrate NASA inspired feedback technology, with cognitive training, and behavioral shaping. Play Attention is designed to strengthen executive function, which is often weak in students with ADHD and learning disabilities.

We will customize a plan that will help your student achieve academic success despite the learning loss that may have occurred over the last year and a half.  

Let’s focus on a successful school year! 

Call us to chat more about how Play Attention can help your child/students at 800-788-6786 or schedule a 1:1 consultation here