As a parent or educator, you do worry about your child, but there are some added layers of fears when we speak of kids with any disorders or disabilities.
This is due to the unique challenges that children with special needs face. Special students need special attention, lessons and other settings. Also, the diversity in types of disorders and disabilities directly impacts the learning needs of these students. While advancements over time have made it possible for these children to get conventional education that they deserve, let's look at online learning potential for students with special needs. Considering the diversity in disabilities, students are classified into 5 major categories. In the pointers below, we'll address the role of online learning for each of the categories.
For students with learning disabilities
Students with learning disabilities face multiple challenges in their regular learning needs. With eLearning, they get the time and space to work on their pace. It also allows them access to learning materials as many times as they need. IT systems and software can help learners with dyslexia or disorders relating to visual processing by altering font size and style as per their need. Various assistive technology tools are also available to help students with learning disabilities.
For students with physical disabilities
Needless to say, mobility and physical movement can be one of the biggest challenges students with physical disabilities face. With these challenges, attending a school for conventional education can be difficult and uncomfortable. In worst cases, students could be feel demotivated when they see their peers doing everything at ease while they struggle with it. ELearning provides education to physically disabled students in their comfort zones. They do not have to worry about rushing to campus, commuting in between classes. For students who cannot write or type, eLearning aids by offering a voice to text and voice-activated programs.
For students with visual impairments
Most digital devices come with audiovisual assistance. For instance, Chromebooks have ChromeVox, a built-in screen reader. It reads the content out loud for users on the Chrome browser. Besides this, assistive tech tools like braille keyboards or voice-to-text software and audio recordings are easily available. For visually impaired students, access to technology can be of great help as it will not limit their capabilities but will help them explore a lot more. Most software has dictation accessibility, and it can help visually impaired students work with tech and learn effectively.
For students with hearing impairments
Technology can help students with hearing impairments. There are apps like Flipgrid that features closed captions for video conferencing. Also, many platforms like Microsoft teams come with live captioning and subtitles. If text is the primary mode of communication among teachers and students, interacting through forums, emails can be easier than conventionally doing the same.
For students with psychiatric disabilities
Psychiatric disabilities bring a lot of challenges for people with them. Such disabled students face many problems in learning, and they should study in their comfort zones. Usually, it is difficult for them to adjust to a social environment and cope with the anxiety it brings. Hence, the best way for them to study is in their familiar surroundings. Without a doubt, eLearning is the best option for students with psychiatric disabilities.
Two key factors that are beneficial for students with disabilities are flexibility and convince. elearning facilitates learning options with these two factors. Compared to conventional education, elearning is accessible at one's convenience and provides flexibility to learners. Apart from these with online learning, students can learn at their own pace, a boon for students with disabilities. The hassle of travelling is not a concern in online education. Students with a disability can easily study at the comfort of their personal space as per their preferences and pace.
All in all, technology plays a pivotal role in providing effective learning solutions for disabled students. Also, these students find it more comfortable to study in an online learning environment as it provides them with more time to focus on their study.