5 remote learning best practices for adults with disabilities

In recent years, the impact of the global pandemic has brought new attention to remote learning. Lessons given online have their advantages, but also present unique challenges. Day program activities for adults with disabilities can be conducted remotely, but extra attention needs to be paid to meeting students’ specific needs.

How to run day program activities for adults with disabilities remotely?

1. Assess individual needs

Not all people with learning disabilities are the same. Strategies that work for one student may make life more difficult for another. This is true in the classroom, and it is true with remote learning. Before establishing a remote learning program like teaching life skills activities for adults with disabilities, make sure each prospective student has an individualized assessment so specific challenges to remote learning can be identified and mitigated early.

2. Multisensory engagement

A key to teaching adults with autism, intellectual disability and other learning difficulties in any context is ensuring they have lots of opportunities to engage their senses. Online learning may make tactile teaching props more difficult, but you can still ensure that lessons involve both visual and auditory stimulation.

3. Make use of technology

Technology has proven invaluable in improving the quality of support for students with learning disabilities. It provides new methods of communication and engagement for those who may struggle with speech or writing, for example. You need to ensure that all students have access to the programs they need to communicate and understand effectively, as well as find new ways to participate actively in lessons. Information should be delivered in multiple formats with consideration of its accessibility to devices such as screen readers that are used by some students.

4. Maintain structure

One criticism about remote learning, more generally, is that it can make it harder to remain focused, to stay on schedule, and to separate work and leisure if both are happening in the same room. For many people with autism, intellectual disabilities and other learning difficulties, routine is particularly important and a sudden switch to remote learning may leave them feeling adrift. You need to find ways to ensure that you have systems and timetables in place so they still feel supported in a structured environment and understand the rules and expectations in their lessons.

5. Include social time in life skills activities for adults with disabilities

Life skills activities for adults with disabilities are not just about sitting in classrooms learning. They are about practical experiences to help navigate a range of day-to-day social situations. Including time for socialization and fun does not just make students happier and more engaged, it provides another way for them to learn what they need to know. Make sure there is still time for leisurely interaction in a remote setting, even if students cannot be in the same room.

Some adults with disabilities will benefit from remote over in-person learning, others will find it more difficult. You need to ensure you make the best use of time, technology and your students’ abilities to make it more effective, accounting for their specific needs and providing extra support where necessary.

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