Distance Learning as a Tool for Differently-Abled Learners

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E-learning also known as distance learning or online learning is learning remotely through the use of various technologies as a tool for facilitation of the ‘usual’ teacher-student and student-student communication. During the last two and a half years virtual learning has greatly increased, you would agree attributing to many parents embracing distance learning more so those with children with special needs.
Even though home-based learning has been a learning method implored by many constantly showing how important it is to connect with the children in an environment they feel most comfortable, others still question the validity of home-based virtual learning raising concerns for things like screen time duration and its harmful effects on the young ones.

Another concern parents raise is the social aspect of children who are homeschooled. On the contrary children who are homeschooled usually tend to be more social adaptable than those who are in conventional schools. One such case is a personal experience i had while in the field of teaching; home based learning specifically with a child who has special needs. This child, let’s call him John, 8, was a socially awkward child with social anxiety and a general fear of going outside and having to socialize with his peers. He was very shy at first but when allowed to navigate the system of virtual leaning himself, which included a lot of play-based learning and sessions with his teacher conducted online via video chat, he was able to communicate and express some of the fears that prevented him to go outside and play as 8-year-old children should. Eventually he was able to open up to his peers and as I type this article he is more affable than ever! So yes, we can use technology to bridge the gap through inclusion, interactive classrooms all incorporated by play based learning activities and practicality of lessons.

It is important that we advocate for inclusive virtual learning because it shows that we embrace and value diversity. One of the most important benefits of inclusive learning is that we equip all learners with not just knowledge but skills they can use to become independent in tech adversities that have always seemed somewhat unattainable. Another benefit is that online learning is more sustainable in that it is environmentally friendly as it limits paper usage and cuts down on commuting and transport. It also equips learners with skills for a digital future. It is also very manageable and convenient as parents and children have the freedom to curate their own school calendar.
If you are a parent and are wondering how do I start? Which is the best virtual learning option for my child; check out one such website: LaLhomeschooling.com, they create home schooling starter kits that are easy for parents to follow and start. You can also do your research on best practices for virtual learning as there is numerous materials on virtual learning, its advantages and concerns. One downside or concern I can say is it can be inaccessible to remote areas and somewhat costly especially in the beginning. But as you go along and adapt to the system, you will come to realize it is quite manageable and super convenient.

By Ms. Beatrice Thinwa
Founder and Team Lead
Lal Homeschooling Center

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