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Over the last few years, a lot has been said about how online schools can benefit children right from kindergarten all the way through to high school. There are even online colleges and universities that provide students with access to distance education. But how many of us have come across e-learning programs for children with special needs? Sure, being able to study in an online avenue helps overcome obstacles faced with conventional learning environments. But how important are online diplomas when it comes to delivering the right knowledge to children with special needs? Students studying in traditional classrooms have certainly made a lot of progress with the help of the right teachers and the right curriculum. Just as students in conventional learning environments are benefiting from modern technology, those with special needs can benefit from using such technology.
Special needs education usually involves a specialized process of educating children with special needs in a manner that is designed to address their specific needs. There are different kinds of special needs but the more common ones known to people include children with learning disabilities, communication disabilities, physical disabilities, common developmental disabilities and those who have emotional and behavioral disorders. Unknown or unfamiliar to most people, the term ‘special needs’ covers a wide range of aspects pertaining to children who are considered ‘different’ from ordinary students and require specialized teaching and customized course material. With numerous options available because of cutting-edge technology, online schools can now be used to extend the reach of education to such children. Delivering education to them is now not only possible but also feasible and economical.
E-learning programs make use of an online learning environment that is designed to deliver course material over the internet. This way, most special needs children are able to carry out all their coursework from the comfort of their homes, which makes things a lot easier for them as well as their parents. Also, since such children require their course curriculum to be customized according to each one’s own abilities and needs, distance education offers the perfect solution. Not only is it easy to customize material using such an environment but delivering it is affordable too. Students are no longer required to keep track of their books and assignments. Since everything is based online, all they need to do is log in to the school’s online portal and access their coursework. Leveraging technology is now more of a norm rather than just a possible option, which is something we need to make use of wisely.
Students are able to submit assignments online to their teachers, who can then check them and provide feedback in real-time (if required) via the online environment itself. This greatly reduces the time involved and also contributes toward speeding up the entire learning process. Also, depending on each one’s individual capabilities, students are taught how to slowly explore their material independently and are encouraged to be self-sufficient in most of their activities. Of course, parents and teachers are always available to guide them whenever help is needed. But being able to study on their own gradually helps develop a sense of confidence in such children, which can be immensely beneficial in the long run positively affecting their academic achievements and future prospects. The greatest benefit of employing e-learning programs is that every student is graded and assessed according to his or her own individual abilities, keeping in mind each one’s specific needs.
Another one of the key benefits of k-12 online schooling is that they help foster social integration. This is a major factor that can contribute toward reducing social stigma associated with such special needs and help improve the overall success levels of such children. More than just delivering education, studying online has helped children with special needs break down traditional barriers and has given them access to avenues that were once out of their reach. The important aspect in helping such children achieve this is a strong support system. Having their parents and teachers access the same platform certainly helps bring everyone involved a lot closer than conventional learning environments. Moreover, interacting online is certainly a lot easier, faster and definitely much more economical.
But there are several aspects parents need to keep in mind before opting to enroll their child with an online school. For starters, there are a few things pertaining to the school’s curriculum that need to be evaluated such as whether the course proceeds at the individual pace of each child, builds up on existing skills, provides room for independent learning, and most importantly, combines learning with fun. Distance education is designed to be interactive and enjoyable in a manner that provides children with fun, learning opportunities that encourage exploration and discovery in a safe and holistic environment. Constant supervision by parents also reassures the child and helps reinforce their confidence in the value of online diplomas.
Those with physical disabilities and other learning disorders certainly find learning online to be a viable alternative. Eliminating the need for transportation and the flexibility to alter one’s pace of learning certainly make online schools a lot more appealing than conventional ones. A diverse range of multimedia tools are now available that help transform learning into a whole new experience. Helping children learn in a manner that’s fun certainly beats just having to study from books and submit coursework assignments regularly. Students are encouraged to venture out into different aspects of their course material, which is what holistic learning is all about. There are numerous online modes of communication that make it much easier for student-teacher interaction and a feasible teacher-to-student ratio.
Online diploma programs have the potential to impact a diverse range of students with different cognitive abilities. Being able to have such a significant impact on the lives of such children is not commonly observed in conventional schooling, which is why academicians and educators around the world are strongly evaluating the potential of online schools to help those with special needs.
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