NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - As Metro students prepare to do all virtual learning in August, some educators are concerned about how special education students may be impacted by this change.
“I really think that students with disabilities will be held out of the conversation,” Dr. Cedric Thomas said.
Dr. Cedric Thomas is a Special Education Teacher.
“Moreso mild to moderate, so I see more behavioral or uh, I would say on the higher end spectrum of autism,” Thomas said.
When it comes to ensuring his students learn their lessons, he knows what steps need to be taken first.
“A strategy I use, the first couple of weeks of school is no instruction. It’s all about me time! Meaning get to know me! I get to know you..and we building that relationship over time,” Dr. Thomas said.
It’s why he’s concerned about how this upcoming school year will affect children with special needs.
“If they don’t get that routine instruction. They tend to lash out. And so, building a relationship also is important,” Dr. Thomas said.
He’s hearing the same concerns from parents, hoping their kids will be able to learn properly at home.
“They’re so used to being relaxed and comfortable at home..and now it’s a new setting, so, now you’re trying to incorporate structure into it and consistency is going to be difficult for parents,” Dr. Thomas said.
Not only is structure important, but making sure they’re not falling behind is another factor.
“We have a testing period --where we test a student before a break, and then after a break to see if their knowledge was either lost or gained...so that regress, we’re very particular about students regressing over that period of time,” Dr. Thomas said.
News 4 reached out to Metro Schools to find out what services will be provided for special education students. They sent us a letter they issued to parents, promising individualized learning plans that parents should get by August 4th. As far as falling behind, MNPS addressed that too, saying that once the school year begins, they will assess the impact extended school closures had on the learning of all students. Regression will initially be addressed by incorporating teaching of missed standards.
Read MNPS Exceptional Learning Letter below: