If you are an educator working with students who have varying needs, I know I do not have to tell your twice that this group of students has struggled throughout the pandemic. All students have struggled with the pandemic, but for those with varying needs, the palpable anxiety and lack of a structured academic routine caused many to fall behind. Many schools shuttered their doors to protect children from the coronavirus, and many communities are struggling to navigate the challenges that the Delta variant has brought.
Last August, Tuffs University published an article which stated that “while all students have had routines interrupted, those perhaps most affected by that disruption are special education students.” Because the field of special education covers a diverse range of needs like adolescents with a learning disability, adolescents who have visual or hearing impairments, adolescents who are on the autism spectrum, adolescents who have mental health or behavioral health challenges, or those with another varying need—educators are on the front lines trying to support them in every imaginable way.
Towards that end, the National Education Association (NEA) published a report about the overall impact the pandemic has had on special education students. The NEA’s report found that:
- Special education students along with their parents and educators have faced uniquely complicated challenges during the pandemic.
- A large population of students did not have the technology or internet access needed to participate or complete schoolwork from home.
- Thanks to staff dedication, student resilience, and stronger partnership with families and communities, many educators and students have succeeded.
Throughout the pandemic, I have heard repeatedly from educators across the country who use our program, the Healthy Relationships Curriculum, that it has been a “lifesaver” and “critical to ensuring their students’ development.” Because our program has always been able to be taught in a variety of modalities—virtually, in-person, or in a hybrid environment—when schools shuttered their doors, students were able to continue learning the lessons the Healthy Relationships Curriculum provides. There is so much about the future that is unknown, particularly when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why I would encourage you to reach out to me to learn more about how our program can support you as you teach and your students as they learn.
All my best,
Jen Falkowski, M.Ed