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Building a Remote Learning Schedule for Individuals with Moderate to Severe Disabilities

If you aren’t already, you probably will be on a Remote Learning schedule VERY soon. I prepped for 4 institute days (and basically my entire summer) thinking my students were coming in person for the first day of school, only to be sadly flipped to remote in the 11th hour. I know it is the safest option and so I try to keep that top of mind, especially when creating and executing this new schedule puts my overwhelm into overdrive.


I heard from a few of you that you wanted to know how I structured a day for my multi needs, transition age life skills class. I’ve outlined what it currently looks like below. I am well aware this schedule isn’t perfect and it won’t work for everyone. My only hope in sharing this is that it will spark an idea or two for you.


Class Profile

Transition age, moderate-severe disabilities ( or multiple disabilities), non-verbal or limited verbal, some with physical disabilities, average time attending is seconds to minutes long, all with 1:1 support for the majority of their day, focus is life skills/increasing engagement and tolerance of activities of daily living.


Details

All families have or have been provided with a Chromebook and home wifi. I have the ability to order supplies, deliver materials to students (myself, if I want to), and secure therapists who can and will join us virtually.


I have been blessed with the autonomy to do what is best for my students in this unique learning environment. I also have a group of amazing, hard working, and detail oriented support staff who have been working with me in school to produce these resources. Last, but not least, I have an incredible co-teacher who I’ve been able to collaborate with to create and execute this schedule. Yes, I am blessed and no, I don’t take any of that for granted.


Goals

  • To give parents/family members/primary caregivers a LOT of flexibility with the schedule and activities.

  • To offer individualized time and materials.

  • To provide meaningful, relevant, and engaging activities.


Schedule Outline


Offered Daily

Area: Class Meeting

Task: Class meeting

Length of Time Allotted: 60 mins (1 hr total)

Method of Delivery: Video

Notes: This is the time when we are having our special therapy (art, movement, music, etc), playing games, making art, visiting different places virtually, and such. We had high student engagement when my co-teacher Zoomed in from a local park. She led the class in a scavenger hunt (find water, find a green leaf, find a flower, etc). We plan to do this weekly at local zoos, gardens, parks, stores, and more! If we can’t go as a class in person, then we will go as a class virtually!


*No, our students can’t sustain a 60 minute Zoom call, but we are trying to build their stamina with each class period and we think it is working! We also rely on the primary caregiver to support the student during this time.



Area: Independent Living Skills

Task: Pick 6, Water plant, Clean doors and surfaces

Length of Time Allotted: 75 mins (2 hrs 15 mins total)

Method of Delivery: Choice Board and video overview

Notes: I created a list of 20 different ways students can practice skills like sorting, matching, cleaning, putting in/taking out, and simple stretching moves in their home. Think- put laundry in basket, match shoes, scoop pet food, etc. Students will be able to pick 6 tasks and each should take about 10 minutes to complete. We are providing each family with a flower/plant and a water bottle to spray to water. We hope this will give them something to look at and watch grow while at home. We also provided each family with a Swiffer duster and are encouraging students to engage in light daily dusting of common surfaces.



Area: Vocational Skills

Task: Vocational Skills Boxes

Length of Time Allotted: 30 minutes (2 hrs 45 mins total)

Method of Delivery: Materials and Choice Board

Notes: Each student has been given 5 vocational skill boxes that are customized to their needs, IEP goals, and skill level. They will get to choose to work on 3 for 10 minutes each. Many are focused on sorting, put in order, putting in, taking out, identifying what room something goes, etc.



Area: Morning Check-In

Task: Review the day

Length of Time Allotted: 10 mins (2 hrs 55 mins total)

Method of Delivery: Velcro choice book

Notes: Students are given 10 basic questions and will put the answer to each in the center of the page from a list of 3-5. For example- What day is it today? They will move the Friday Velcro piece to answer or point or use their communication system.



Area: Fitness

Task: 5 fitness moves, 30 seconds each, completed 3 times

Length of Time Allotted: 10 mins (3 hrs 5 mins total)

Method of Delivery: Video

Notes: I worked with our physical therapist to develop a long list of stretching and basic fitness moves that our students could do without any equipment. I filmed myself (and am still filming myself) doing the stretches (explaining how to, doing, and holding). iMovie and I are really tight these days! Special thanks to BenSound.com for the free upbeat school-appropriate music!



Area: Self-Care Skills

Task: Morning Hygiene

Length of Time Allotted: 10 mins (3 hrs 15 mins total)

Method of Delivery: Visuals

Notes: Families will receive individualized hygiene routines that are appropriate for their student. These include skills such as washing hands, toileting, brushing teeth, brushing hair, putting on deodorant, dressing, and washing face.



Area: Reading

Task: Read or listen to News2You, L3 Skills, or complete Interactive Books

Length of Time Allotted: 15 mins (3 hrs 30 mins total)

Method of Delivery: Printables, online games, or hands on interactive books

Notes: Given the skill range of our students we are offering 3 levels of different readings the students could engage in. The topics span a wide variety and will change weekly.



Area: Sensory

Task: Enjoy preferred sensory activity

Length of Time Allotted: 15 mins (3 hrs 45 mins total)

Method of Delivery: Sensory supplies

Notes: I worked with the IEP team staff to identify 3 preferred sensory experiences and provided them to the families. Students will have a choice board or communication system to choose a sensory activity and will have 15 minutes to enjoy it (or 5 minutes for all 3).



Area: Recreation & Leisure

Task: Enjoy preferred recreational activities

Length of Time Allotted: 15 mins (4 hrs total)

Method of Delivery: Hands on materials

Notes: Again, I worked with our staff to list and purchase our students preferred recreational activities. Using a choice board or communication device, students will make a choice of a recreational activity and then enjoy that activity for 15 mins (or all 3 for 5 mins each).



Area: Individual IEP Team Meeting with parent/family member/guardian and student

Task: Address IEP goals, problem solve, talk through how-to’s

Length of Time Allotted: 30 minutes (4.5 hrs total)

Method of Delivery: Video call

Notes: Following our class meeting (so that parents don’t have to find and click a new link) we are asking 1 student each day to stay on for an additional 30 minutes. This is the time the team meets with the student to work through IEP goals, data collection (if possible), problem solve with parents, and/or teach caregivers how to encourage independence with their student.



Area: Personal Hygiene (when students AREN’T in the Individualized IEP Team meeting, they will do Personal Hygiene)

Task: Hand washing & Hand Sanitizer Practice

Length of Time Allotted: 15 mins

Method of Delivery: Video

Notes: My co-teacher created a how-to video* that reviews how to wash your hands and how to effectively use hand sanitizer. We also provided families with both soap and hand sanitizer so they could practice both at home.


*We believe there is value in our students seeing US do these tasks, but you could EASILY find pre-made videos on the internet!



Area: IEP Goal Practice (when students AREN’T in the Individualized IEP Team meeting, they will do IEP Goal Practice)

Task: Practice IEP Goals

Length of Time Allotted: 15 mins

Method of Delivery: Based on student’s IEP goals

Notes: Ways of working on the IEP goal are addressed in the weekly Individualized IEP Team Meeting.




1 Time per Week (4.5 + .5 = 5 hrs total)

Area: Independent Living Skills

Task 1: Household Tasks

Length of Time Allotted: 30 mins

Method of Delivery: Video

Notes: I’m video recording myself explaining how to get the student involved in tasks around the house. These include topics such as setting the dinner table, putting dirty dishes in the sink, how to clean door knobs, helping make the bed, picking up around the house, and more. The videos are geared towards the caregiver, but can be watched by the caregiver at student.



Area: REVIEW!

Task: Review the previous week’s Household Task

Length of Time Allotted: 30 mins

Method of Delivery: Video re-play

Notes: Repetition is a beautiful thing!



Area: Community

Task: Store Scavenger Hunt

Length of Time Allotted: 30 mins

Method of Delivery: Paper

Notes: One of my wonderful support staff created 10+ different sheets of local stores (like the grocery store, craft store, hardware store, etc) and 6-10 things to find ( in both words and visuals). The hope is that when families go shopping in their community they can engage their student in finding the different items.



Area: Communication

Task: Word of the Week

Length of Time Allotted: 30 mins

Method of Delivery: Paper/Video/Materials

Notes: Our speech therapist is incredible and is working on a different word/phrase of the week, giving parents materials, strategies, and suggestions for how to encourage use of that word in their home.



Area: Mask Practice & Personal Responsibility

Task: Practice wearing mask during preferred activities & Encourage the involvement of students in tasks such as carrying their bag, hanging a coat, opening or closing a meal container

Length of Time Allotted: 30 mins

Method of Delivery: Video

Notes: Again, my video rockstar co-teacher has made videos about how to properly wear a mask and shield and has listed ways to increase tolerance of both. She also created a video of strategies for increasing student participation in tasks such as carrying their own bag, opening and closing lunch containers, and hanging up their own coat!



There you have it, 5 hours of meaningful, engaging, and relevant remote learning friendly activities for students with moderate to severe disabilities that are flexible for students and families to do when it is best for them and their schedule.


I have absolutely no idea how long we will be running this schedule and I’m positive it will adapt and change the longer we are living a remote learning life.


Please reach out to me if you have more specific questions, I’m happy to answer them!

info@aloveforspeciallearning.com


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