Covid has impacted our kids' education on many levels including learning delays and learning losses. Although statistics show learning loss across all ages and grades, graduation rates have stayed stable. Unfortunately, that means that many high school students are likely graduating with academic deficits. As a result, those who transition to college are beginning classes at a disadvantage, and students with disabilities who are compounded by learning deficits are even more at risk. Today I share some strategies that could help mitigate those challenges. I have links to a couple of resources that might help parents and teachers support their students. You will also get links to some helpful episodes and articles.
How Has the Pandemic Affected Students with Disabilities? A Review of the Evidence to Date
Special Education During the Pandemic, in Charts
6 things we've learned about how the pandemic disrupted learning
COVID-19 and education: The lingering effects of unfinished learning
NCR carbonless paper
#45 College & Autism 102: Finding Your Path with Charlie Kirkham
#60 Training (Coaching) College Peer Tutors
FREE video: Coaching College Peer Tutors for Students with a Disability
#62 Prepping For Final Exams
#72 Strategies to Accommodate Struggling Learners
#39 Improving Executive Function
FREE resource: Free tips on executive function
I quote, The fallout from the pandemic threatens to depress this generations prospects and constrict their opportunities far into adulthood, the ripple effects may undermine their chances of attending college and ultimately finding a fulfilling job that enables them to support a family. That is a frightening a statement that I found in the McKinsey and Company article - COVID-19 and education the lingering effects of unfinished learning by Emma Doran, Brian Hancock, Jimmy circuit Santas and Ellen Verilog, where they analyze the fallout of COVID. On education, it's becoming more and more apparent just how hard the pandemic was on our children. We're seeing more and more evidence of learning loss occurring, we're seeing evidence of college numbers down enrollment numbers down and we're seeing more and more frustration for the parents of children with a disability as they struggle to cope and keep up with their work. Learning loss is a real problem. And usually, under normal circumstances, you expect some learning loss usually through summer vacation, kids been away from school for a while, and it's natural that there would be some sense of loss and forgetfulness with the material they learned the previous year. But the changes to education during the pandemic have really hit us hard. So today I'd like to address that learning loss and some of the things that teachers and parents could do to support their kids who are struggling. So welcome to college disabilities and success, Episode 91. How to recover from learning loss with Mickie Hayes. The opinions in this podcast are my own, please reach out to your college physician for legal services for additional information.
According to the Center on Reinventing Public Education from the University of Washington Bothell, an article posted in August of 2021, called "How has the pandemic affected students with disabilities: a review of the evidence to date," identifies four major impacts of the pandemic. Impact number one, lower attendance and engagement; impact number two, inconsistent delivery of special education and related services; Impact number three, learning losses and regression and impact number four, unexpected upsides. If you would like more information about these impacts that the Center for reinventing public education discovered, I will share that link in today's show notes.
I know the fourth one is intriguing, because it talks about unexpected upsides. And in that case, it's talking about some students. And we already know this, some students really thrive in the online environment. And so to those students, the fact that they were forced into an online education actually turned into a benefit. But research is showing that the negative impact of the COVID far outweighs that benefit. One of the problems that I've seen over and over again, was frustration with students who were caught up in the online learning through apps and through specialized programs to teach them I actually tutored online through zoom with students who were getting the materials from school, the homework that they had to do at school online. And then I would tutor with them online after school to sort of help deal with solving those problems and understanding that the work and the expectations that the teacher had set out, so I was tutoring students online who were struggling with classes online. Strange times these days, there was a lot of confusion with those online programs for kids who really didn't understand the assignment didn't understand the way the program worked, and had trouble planning their time to address some of the issues that they were facing online. And then you complicate that with bad reception signals going in and out internet shutting down or even students who didn't have access to internet and it becomes a real huge issue, a really huge issue. So now that students are back into some sort of a normal situation back in the classroom, they're actually showing up in the classroom with skill deficits, and that presents a challenge So as a teacher or as a parent, how can you help that situation? That's what I'm looking at today, as your kids are transitioning out of high school and into college, are they ready to face the reality that college is going to throw at them because things are going to get challenging and even more challenging if they are going into college with skill deficits, skill deficits that may be compounding their disability challenges. Now, as odd as it seems, working online created a lot of issues for students. However, working online can also solve a lot of issues for students. So let's talk about that for a minute. The first online resource that I want to mention is something called Learning Ally, and Learning Ally will provide electronic textbooks in the old days, it used to be books on tape that were designed specifically for students who had dyslexia or who had visual disabilities. But Learning Ally is something that any family can access if they need it. Now, there is a cost for that. So you have to take that into consideration. But if you are a college student with a disability, and reading is a struggle, disability services should be able to provide that resource for you if you qualify, based on your documentation. Now, if you can't find a copy of the textbook that you need disability services often has contacts and forums and groups that they belong to. Or they can reach out to a group and say, does anybody have an electronic copy of this book title? Or does anybody have a Braille copy of a certain book, there are resources out there that the disability services people can tap into, but they just need to know they need to do this. So if you have a student who struggles with dyslexia, or reading problems, and is dealing with learning loss from all of the stuff that came beforehand, then electronic textbooks would be a logical resource that you should consider, first and foremost. The second resource that goes along with that is the Microsoft Word dictation service that comes along with your Office subscription. When an individual needs to write a paper or answer questions online, they can dictate that information into Microsoft Word, and then go back and edit it accordingly. So if that is a skill that they can handle, they could do that themselves. But think about this, if you're a parent or a teacher, and you have a student who is dictating material, having somebody who works side by side with them to help them edit that material would be a huge benefit. So it might be a friend that they have, or it might be a service that you could pay for it, it wouldn't even necessarily be a tutoring type service, but an editing service or a proofreading service, where somebody can take a look at their material and help them straighten it out if there is something they don't understand. And it's extremely, extremely important not to edit out the student's thoughts and words, just because you would say it differently, doesn't mean that you should write it that way. So the student can say it differently. That's one of the really, really tricky parts about doing editing with students, you need to let the student's words shine through good, bad or otherwise, you need to let that happen. You just have to be careful that you're not doing the kind of electronic accommodation that's plagiarizing somebody else's material that is absolutely illegal and not acceptable. And you could get the kid thrown out of college. Surely plagiarizing is in the code of conduct. And it is strictly forbidden. In the long run, you're not doing that kid any favors by doing the work for them. You didn't help in primary school, it didn't help when you did the projects for your kids in the grade school. And it certainly isn't going to fly at college. But if you combine the two services, Learning Ally and listening to the material they have to read and then Microsoft Word dictate and dictating their response to the material online, that those two resources together really takes a lot of stress off the individual student who may be trying to pull this stuff together in spite of that learning loss that occurred during the pandemic. Now, I would also recommend that if you are transitioning out of high school into college that you when you do those college interviews, when you're talking to Disability Services, and you're finding out if the college you're choosing is a good match and user friendly when it comes to accommodating disabilities ask that college what kind of tutoring they have available, they're probably going to have some sort of a tutoring center Study Center on the campus that a student could go to, to get those resources that they need. But again, as in the past things that I've said All colleges are not created equal. And so one, college is tutoring center may be wonderful. And another one may be just mediocre or just okay. So you have to do your homework and investigate those questions. With regards to tutoring on site and tutoring on campus. It's important for college students to get out there and meet people join clubs meet people go to areas where they are interested in meet people have the same interest level, because those kinds of friendships that they establish will also lead to study groups that make a huge, huge difference in their academic success. If you get a chance, go back and listen to episode number 45 College and autism 102. Finding Your Path with Charlie Kirkham because Charlie talks specifically about the benefits that he gained because he started working with study groups, and he started reaching out to his peers. And that is a really important skill that's going to help any student who is struggling with learning loss because if they feel lost and confused and overwhelmed, sometimes talking to a peer with the same area of interest, and the same subject knowledge can make a huge difference. Now, if you're interested in setting up some sort of a tutoring arrangement for your child, maybe you're reaching out to an individual tutor to help one on one or maybe you're working at a college or high school and you want to set up some sort of tutoring for the students and you just don't quite know how to handle the disability end of things. Check out the podcast that I did on coaching college peer tutors are training college peer tutors, podcast number 60-6 Zero. In that podcast, I actually created a tutoring module that you can share with tutors that helps them understand the kinds of needs that students with disabilities have another resource that will help students who are struggling with learning loss is to get a good note taker. Now sometimes they can arrange note taking services through Disability Services, and other times they have to do it on their own. But one of the resources that's really really good for note takers is something called NCR paper. And I'll have the link in my show notes. But basically, NCR paper is a lined paper that you write on, and it makes a duplicate of what you wrote onto the sheet underneath. And so if you know somebody who in class who takes good notes, they can use the NCR paper to take their notes, and then split them apart, and you each have a copy. And so you don't have to mess with Xerox machines, you don't have to mess with making copies through the computer, you immediately have a duplicate set of notes. And it's a really effective way to have a student who struggles with taking notes to get assistance in that department.
I also want to suggest that you sharpen your child's knowledge of study skills. There's a ton of things out there resources that help with study skills. But if you want to know some particular ones that I have found successful, I have several different podcasts that I've done on study skills that you might find value in there are podcasts on memorization strategies, check out episode 72 strategies to accommodate struggling learners Episode 62, preparing for final exams, and episode 39 Improving executive function. I also have a link to an article that was on NPR called six things we've learned about how the pandemic disrupted learning. And that was done June 22 2022, on all things considered by Cory Turner. So that link will be in the show notes if you want to hear their take on it as well. They cover six different areas in their conversation. One of the things that I hadn't mentioned today that they noticed was students at high poverty schools were the hardest hit during the pandemic, and especially when they were thrust into online learning, because those are situations where internet isn't always available. Computers are not always available, and the resources just aren't there to jump into online learning. They also mentioned that different states found different gaps in learning. But one of the things that they found that I found most interesting was that high school graduation rates didn't change much. So what that means is in reality, a lot of the kids graduated from high school but may not have had the same skills past graduates have had. And now they're getting into college and they're coming in with less skills even though they have a diploma from high school. So that's another issue that needs to be looked at a little more deeply. And they also notice that many of the high school grads are postponing college. And again, that's an impact of the pandemic. So there are a lot of impacts beyond the ones that I mentioned earlier that the pandemic has had on our children. I hope you found value in today's podcast. The reality is, learning loss is everywhere. But learning loss presents a greater challenge for students with disabilities who often struggle to learn. If you have any questions, please reach out to me at Mickieteaches@gmail.com. That's Mick i e email@example.com. Or check out my resources on my website, Mickieteaches.com. If you want to know more about the research that's been done regarding students with disabilities and the pandemic, I will have all of those links in my show notes today. Thank you so much for joining me today. Have a great rest of the day. And we'll talk again soon. By information contained throughout this podcast has been gleaned from my own personal experiences, but to ensure accuracy, please contact the Disability Services at the college of your choice to have firsthand information and the most up to date policies and procedures followed for your particular institution of higher education. The content in any of these podcasts is not intended as a substitute for information from legal, educational or medical professionals. Always seek the advice of your attorney or qualified health care provider with any questions you may have with regards to legal, educational or medical concerns.
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