Continuous Learning Services Through Tele-Communication

Welcome to the new normal. Learning has gotten pushed out of the classroom and it’s happening in new ways, new contexts, and new locations as we speak. We’re all rising to the challenge of continuing to educate our kids, despite the obstacles the pandemic has put in our paths. Let’s face it, change rarely happens when everything is going well. Change is hard. Change is often unexpected. Change is also a chance to reinvent ourselves. At AIM, the challenge has been to see educational services, therapy, and evaluation through a new lens.

While it’s so easy to say what WON’T work in this new era of learning, we have chosen to focus on what WILL work. Focusing on the intent of the law and our ethical guidelines, we’ve reimagined what things like speech therapy, sped instruction, sped administration support, dyslexia services, and evaluations look like in an era when we can’t be face-to-face with a child. Distance learning is so much more than just using video and computers. For sure, the way things will be done now is different, but different is just that, different, not something that stops you.

Since schools have closed, we have been tirelessly working to develop processes and procedures for providing services and learning via alternative methods beyond classroom instruction. Instead of copying existing teleservice models that are available, we crafted a new model from the ground up. This ensured we were not bound by the restraints of how it has been done before, but rather how it will work in this new era of education. We wanted to ensure that each student’s services were still individualized to their individual needs.

Much of the conversations have been about how we’re going to give services to kids already in special education. We’re also thinking about the students who are not yet in special education but have been waiting to be evaluated since December. These are students who could now become eligible and begin receiving these services right now.

Our team has developed and crafted procedures that will be rolled out with each service we offer. These procedures are customizable for your setting, as is the training that accompanies it.

“That won’t work,” didn’t stop us in 2011 when we started on this amazing AIM adventure and it won’t stop us now.


Tele-Evaluations

Staff Training

Our evaluation team has built a system with a wide array of considerations to complete evaluations during this time. It begins with a pre-assessment training to ensure our staff is adequately trained and prepared to conduct these evaluations. These trainings include how to use an assortment of technology and hosting services, proper documentation, and providing the parents with Notice and Consent about the difference in the way their student will be evaluated and how that might impact the test scores. Because the test publishers have granted us permission to use their tests in an alternative way, they are providing training and guidance for their expectations and allowances, which will be part of our direct training as well. For reference, please see the test publisher permissions for further information:

Student Screening

Before a student is considered for a tele-assessment, a thorough screening will be conducted to determine if the student is an appropriate candidate for this type of assessment. We have taken into consideration that all students may not benefit from a tele-evaluation, but many could. To make this determination, we are screening for access to an appropriate environment in the home setting, access to technology that is compatible with a tele-assessment, and consideration for the specific needs of the student, including the suspicion of disability.

Parent Involvement

To ensure the best possible outcome of a tele-assessment, our team will be in close communication with parents. Their participation in the planning and implementation of the assessment will be integral to its overall success. While they will not be participating in the actual assessment, their cooperation and assistance with setting up technology and testing environment, and then following up with the evaluator to return elements of the assessment, will be key to making the assessment process work as efficiently as possible.

FIE

The final component of the tele-assessment is the written report of findings and determination of whether the student meets the criteria for one or more of the special education eligibility categories. Like the evaluations, FIEs written while schools are using distance learning instruction will include information about all the ways the testing and results were adapted and modified and how that could impact the results and conclusions. It is important to remember that the information obtained from the tele-assessment is only one part of the data used to make a determination about a disability and it will not be used as a single determinant factor in determining a disability or eligibility for special education.


Tele-Sped 360

Interim Virtual Sped Director Support

AIM provides Interim Virtual Special Education Director to support your district/organization based on current COVID-19 needs. The time frame for support is decided by the district. The scope of work will include what your district/organization requires of that role during the continuous distance learning.

Special Education Director - Virtual Consultation

Virtual consultation is available on a variety of topics from experienced administrators. Special Education directors are available via email, phone, Zoom or for consultation on a broad range of Special Education topics related to COVID-19, such as instruction, compliance, grants, virtual ARD meetings, etc. This includes legal updates.

Virtual ARD facilitation

Our team will provide support from experienced special education administrators trained in Virtual Facilitated IEP meetings via the district chosen platform. Our Sped administrators can chair and run virtual meetings, complete paperwork and PWN with recommended statements and information.

Video Conferences and/or Virtual Professional Development

The video conferences will provide a platform to learn, discuss and address some areas in special education during continuous distance learning. Virtual professional development allows for 2-4 hrs of a training/presentation that goes over compliance under normal circumstances and continuous distance learning times. Topics include, but are not limited to:

State and Federal Monitoring and Funding Guidance

Our team will provide monitoring of compliance indicators per state and federal requirements based on updates from federal and state governments due to school closures and COVID-19. Assistance and support with state and federal grants can be provided, specifically designed for assisting with funding for special education services during COVID-19.

Virtual Assistance

A direct messaging system - FERPA compliant - for your staff to access our experts for any questions or advice at any time. Have access to special education directors 24/7 who are able to answer any questions regarding anything and everything special education. This service gets you access to directors who have worked in small rural districts to large urban ones.

Customized Special Education Tools

Our team will provide monitoring of compliance indicators per state and federal requirements based on updates from federal and state governments due to school closures and COVID-19. Assistance and support with state and federal grants can be provided, specifically designed for assisting with funding for special education services during COVID-19.


Tele-Speech

Alternate Modes of Speech Therapy

Our team of Speech-Language Pathologists will work to provide a continuum of speech services based on individualized needs.

Modes

Examples/Resources

Tele-therapy
(therapy sessions do not have to be 30 minutes)
  • One on one via chosen platform that is FERPA compliant
  • SLP would determine the frequency and duration of sessions (this should reflect a distant learning model)
  • If a student’s current IEP states group therapy, recommend reducing sessions by ⅓ (i.e., if a student receives two 30 min/week they would receive one 20 min/week)
  • SLP would determine eligible students for this mode of delivery
  • This can be used in tandem with other modes of delivery
Video Lessons
(i.e. a specific language skill, articulation, sound elicitation, social stories…)
  • Video clips 5 to 10 minutes in length teaching/modeling a specific goal or skill to the student
  • Parent support encouraged
  • SLP would determine eligible students for this mode of delivery
  • This can be used in tandem with other modes of delivery
Electronic Resources
websites, links...
  • A list of websites and electronic resources available to students
  • Parent support encouraged
  • SLP follow up via phone/email to problem solve and answer any questions parent may have regarding resource available
  • SLP would determine eligible students for this mode of delivery
  • This can be used in tandem with other modes of delivery
Electronic Packets
(via email)
  • A packet of printable materials chosen by SLP specific to student via email or secure on-line platform
  • Parent support encouraged
  • SLP follow up via phone/email to problem solve and answer any questions parent may have regarding resource available
  • SLP would determine eligible students for this mode of delivery
  • This can be used in tandem with other modes of delivery
Paper packets
(pick up during lunch pick up, delivery, mail...)
  • A packet of printable materials chosen by SLP specific to student for pick up
  • Parent support encouraged
  • SLP follow up via phone/email to problem solve and answer any questions parent may have regarding resource available
  • SLP would determine eligible students for this mode of delivery
  • This can be used in tandem with other modes of delivery
Scheduled Consultation
(via phone, VTC platform such as Zoom/Google Hangouts Meet, email…)
  • A scheduled phone call via phone/zoom/video correspondence one-on-one with SLP/SLP-Assistant and parent
  • SLP follow up via phone/email to problem solve and answer any questions
  • SLP would determine eligible students for this mode of delivery
  • This can be used in tandem with other modes of delivery
Email/Phone Check-In
(Unscheduled - As needed)
  • Parent/SLP and/or SLP-Assistant check-in
  • Can be initiated by parent or SLP
  • SLP would determine eligible students for this mode of delivery
  • This can be used in tandem with other modes of delivery

Continuous Distance Learning or Tele - Related Services

AIM is able to provide virtual/tele/continuous distance learning related services to students in special education in order to ensure needs are met as best as possible during this time of COVID-19.

AIM can offer these services by professionals who have worked in schools previously and understand the educational model approach. They also are currently offering teleservices, tele-therapy, and/or continuous distance learning services to several districts and charter organizations in Texas. Our related services team reviews each student’s needs and develops an individualized plan specifically tailored to the student and family circumstances.


Processes and Procedures for Tele/Distance Learning

AIM leadership team collaborated with attorneys and publishing companies to develop and write specific processes and procedures for planning, preparing, initiating, conducting, documenting, completing and writing results for tele-evaluations.

Our vetted processes and procedures describes step-by-step how to accomplish this in a manner that retains validity and how to document when validity is compromised.

We have tailored our processes and procedures to be available for districts and charter organizations to utilize and adjust based on their internal needs.

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