Special Needs – 2- Best Practices for Online Communication

The Scenario

You have a student in your online English class who has a 504 Plan in place for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The plan indicates she has significant difficulties with staying focused and executive functioning skills, making organization a constant challenge for her. The 504 committee that developed her plan decided to try an online placement for your one class to see if the online environment is an appropriate fit for future classes. So far, it seems she is enjoying and thriving in your class; she has been active in the class for the first couple of weeks, crafting thoughtful and meaningful posts and responses to classmates, she is asking questions when she needs clarification on a direction or a concept, and is turning in assignments and taking tests and quizzes on a regular basis. However, you notice she is turning in her work at various times, not necessarily in order as per the pacing schedule with due dates you have provided.

What Would I Do?

I decided to write about the female student who has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). She started off great but I noticed while she is turning in her work, she is doing it at various times, not necessarily in order as per the pacing schedule with due dates I have provided.

The challenges I believe may be happening for this student based on the information provided in the scenario is that her ADHD is affecting her ability to stay organized and on track. While she was provided a pacing schedule with due dates, she might not be referring to it. Proper communication of what to do that week would be helpful to her (as well as other students who struggle with organization).

Three online communication tools that I would use to help her get back on track and stay on track are phone call/emails, news announcements and remind.com.

The first tool I would use in this situation is a phone call. I would talk to the student to make sure she is aware of the calendar, the pacing schedule and the news announcements. I would make sure she knew that there were assignments that had to be done for that week to avoid late penalty. I would also want to discuss with her how she has been keeping track of her assignments and see if there are any other extenuating circumstances. This phone call would then be followed up with an email reminding her of the conversation. From there I would send biweekly emails to make sure she kept on track.

Weekly News Announcements would be another important communication tool in this situation because it seems that the student is unclear about what needs to happen when. With a weekly news announcement, I would post the assignment schedule for that week. This would help the student to focus in on just that week instead of seeing the entire year schedule and getting overwhelmed. I would schedule the news announcement to post and then expire after the week is done. By seeing this news announcement, I would expect the student to turn in the work for that week instead of hopping around.

Finally, I would make sure the student and their family knew about remind.com and hopefully they would opt to sign in. By using this tool I would be able to send text messages to parents and students reminding them of the due date and what is due that week for the course.

By utilizing phone call/email, news announcements and remind.com I believe that she will get back on track.

So, what would you do?

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