How to Help Your Special Needs Child Adapt to Online Learning
July 26, 2023

How to Help Your Special Needs Child Adapt to Online Learning

Back to school season is here. But this year’s school season will be different than others. Children will be attending school after the lockdown, in the new normal.

With the coronavirus outbreak going on across the world, governments have taken precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. One of these measures is distance learning, also called virtual learning or online learning.

For special needs children, school season can already become a hassle. Adjusting to online learning could be another story.

But fret not, because we have gathered here some information and tips to transition and adapt to online learning.

Setting Goals

  • Set attainable goals for school day.

  • Develop a modified version of your child’s typical school routine, adapt it to distance learning.

  • Use visuals and pictures or even incorporate your child’s favorite toy to this schedule.

  • Make sure the goals include both the activities for school and for fun.

  • The goals should be in line with your child’s IEP.

Create a New Routine

Special needs children respond well to structures and routines. You can create a distance learning routine for your child for their education.

  • Make sure that the routine is age-appropriate for your child.

  • It is important that your child knows what will happen next.

  • Create a visual schedule that is easy to follow, like a planner or chalkboard, or even an organizer on your tablet. This will keep track of what will happen each day.

  • Change is difficult for special needs children, so have your child follow a routine that they have when they are going to school. This could include getting dressed, washing face, brushing teeth in the morning.

creating a routine

Get Feedback From Your Child’s Teachers

You know your child the best. But your child’s teachers have a lot of information regarding their learning.

  • Get information from the school and teachers about the online learning they will provide. They will give you a clear idea about what to expect as well as the schedules.

  • Collaborate with your child’s teachers to integrate the technology into the special education. This could turn the education your child receives into a more tailored learning.

  • Share your ideas and reservations about distance learning so that you can get a clearer picture about what to expect and what to do.

  • Communicate your child’s preferences to the teacher. Tell them about the schedule you have prepared and maybe they can give some feedback on how to make it better suited to your child’s learning process.

  • Report your child’s progress to the teacher and the school. Start with what your child has achieved and what they struggled with. If the teachers know what is working and what is not, your child can get what they actually need.

  • It is important that your child keeps up with their IEP. Make sure you are communicating with the teachers to include IEP goals into your child’s schedule and track the progress.

Having a “Classroom” in the House

Perhaps one of the most important things to get used to with online learning is having a dedicated “classroom” at home.

  • Make sure you create a special and personalized space in a room which will be dedicated to learning.

  • This space should also have elements in it where the child can be creative, like drawing or reading nooks.

  • Get input from your child while creating your home-made classroom. They could help decorate an item on their desk or let you know where they would like to put their pencil case.

  • Getting this space ready will help them get into the mindset of learning.

  • Have a dedicated device or materials for online learning. If your children are sharing these supplies, make sure they understand who can use what materials at certain times.

It is Okay to Be Flexible

Although it is best to stick to most of your child’s school routines during the day, it is also essential to take a breather and have fun. You know your child the best, so try to integrate some fun back to school activities into your at-home-classroom.

Children with learning issues could benefit from taking breaks, so make sure you build some.

Break assignments into smaller pieces so that your child doesn’t get overwhelmed.

Distance learning is the best opportunity to have quality time with your child. Develop a list of activities you can do with your child, like going for a walk around the block.

Integrate movement into your schedule. Physical activities are just as important as the academic ones.

Use online tools like Otsimo Special Education to help your child have fun while also learning to boost their education to the fullest potential. We have a special Back-to-School category with all the games that will faciliate online education. Otsimo special education back to school


This article is examined by Clinical Child Psychologist and Ph. D. Researcher Kevser Çakmak, and produced by Otsimo Editorial Team.

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This post does not provide medical advice. See Additional Information.