Updated: Apr 23
At the Joshua Academy, we are providing a digital classroom experience throughout the day for our families. Our teachers are planning multiple groups per week that incorporate much of the same structure and routine we have in the classroom. We are trying to have kids be hands on, much like they are used to in the preschool classroom, by engaging in science experiments, cooking and art activities. By far the kids favorite part of these virtual experiences is seeing their friends and teachers!
In Joshua Early Intervention, our teachers and therapists have successfully transitioned to providing our ABA therapy for children with autism via TeleHealth. Each family is receiving at least 3 hours per week of parent training by one of our Board Certified Behavior Analysts. In addition, each child is attending 1:1 sessions with their teacher daily to virtually work on their individualized goals. A parent recently mentioned that they are loving this new modality and finding themselves learning more strategies than before TeleHealth.
Our staff is coming together regularly throughout each week to share successes as well as problem solve together through this new journey of teaching remotely. We are thankful for technology allowing us to connect so regularly, but cannot wait to be with each other in person again!
The Transition and School Age Programs are hard at work at home, focusing on skills like developing and strengthening routines, expanding communication, and participating in lots of fun groups. Our teachers have been so creative and are leading groups including yoga, social skills/games, lunch, adult leisure, morning/news, and virtual field trips. In school age, our students are working on their school work online, staff are creating instructional videos, hosting 1:1 sessions with students and parents, and creating materials for families to implement at home. Although we miss being with our students all day, we are so proud of how they are adapting to this way of learning. We know this has been difficult on families, and we are in awe of all they are doing for their students during this unprecedented time.
We've loved seeing our students online! We have brought on 2 new students over the past month and are continuing to receive and consider referrals from our partner districts. Human Resources and our IAs have been creating some great social activities to boost team morale, including weekly yoga, virtual breakfast group, an in-home scavenger hunt, and we're doing professional development weekly to keep everyone on top of their game.
Remote Learning the New Normal
At-home learning can be intimidating for any parent. They’ve suddenly added “schoolteacher” to their burgeoning list of duties, and teachers and schools are jumping through technological hoops to facilitate learning online. Those with autism, intellectual disabilities, developmental delays and more have additionally unique challenges.
Parents and teachers of our students report that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed especially with little or no instruction on how to proceed. For the Joshua School’s students, families, and teachers, learning online became a trial and error process, but nonetheless it quickly got underway. Valuable lessons are being learned and the way we do this is being continually refined.
To help teachers better serve our students during the school closures, a coalition of more than 30 disability and education groups has created a digital one-stop shop of teaching resources.
EducatingAllLearners.org includes specific guidance on how teachers can deliver lessons online to students in special education, which has been a challenge as schools transition to online learning during the coronavirus pandemic. The site is free and available to anyone, although it was developed primarily to help teachers of children with developmental disabilities. Among the most important offerings is guidance for conducting online meetings for IEPs.
The site will be updated regularly, and teachers can contribute their own ideas.It’s the ultimate crowd-sourcing activity for sharing what’s working in real time!