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Milestones Autism Resources

4853 Galaxy Parkway, Suite A
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128

Phone: (216) 464-7600

Home Resources What School Option is Best for My Child?

What School Option is Best for My Child?

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Milestones Guide for Fall Learning

The following are some options that you as parents or caregivers may have regarding fall 2020 placement options. Please note this listing will continue to grow as information about new and emerging programs and services becomes available.

In-Person and Hybrid Plans
In-person education is one option for the upcoming school year. Additionally, many schools are offering a hybrid plan, meaning there is online instruction in addition to shorter or fewer days in the classroom each week. Milestones encourages families to speak with their school IEP or 504 Plan teams to discuss methods in which to learn and rehearse safety strategies (e.g. proper handwashing, social distancing) and other potential areas of concern the family may have. You should also consult members of your school team to determine the best solution for your family. Suggestions for questions to ask and issues to consider are listed below.

Ohio-Based Homeschool and Virtual Learning Programs
Homeschooling or virtual learning can be a great alternative for certain students, including those who are medically fragile or have family members at high risk. The following are a few school options that have backgrounds in the unique needs of students with autism in home-based and virtual learning environments.
In addition to the programs listed below, Milestones encourages you to contact your local art and music therapy programs, colleges, and libraries to determine if they have any supplementary programs that may enhance your child’s learning opportunities. Some of these programs can be found on the Milestones Community Calendar and in our Resource Center. You can also visit our COVID-19 resources page for suggested educational websites you can use to supplement your child's learning.
For assistance locating personalized information regarding programs in your area, you can also contact the Milestones Help Desk using our online form or by calling 216.464.7600 ext. 200.

Note: Many of the programs listed below may require private payment or the use of the Autism Scholarship or Jon Peterson Scholarship to access their services. 

A+ Solutions
https://www.milestones.org/resources/community-resource-center/a-solutions-beachwood

Tree of Knowledge Learning Academy
https://www.milestones.org/resources/community-resource-center/tree-of-knowledge-learning-academy-cleveland-hts

Haugland Learning Center
https://www.milestones.org/resources/community-resource-center/haugland-learning-center-columbus2

Albert Einstein Tuition Free Online Charter
https://www.milestones.org/resources/community-resource-center/albert-einstein-academy-of-ohio--lakewood-lakewood

Suggestions for Hybrid Learning Success

Ask your district if they are adjusting their plan for the Ohio Department of Education special education guidelines: Most school districts seem to be following the recommendations that ODE releases. You can view the ODE's plan here.

Reflect on the previous year: While being home with your child for the remainder of the previous school year was there anything that you realized they needed extra support? Was your child able to master handwashing or is it something that could be used as a new goal? It is important to prioritize your child’s goals.

Request an IEP meeting with your team: School districts are still expected to follow IDEA guidelines, and must therefore plan for all IEP directives. Email your child’s teacher and include your district's Director of Special Education, Intervention Specialist or Pupil Services Director on the email to request a virtual meeting to discuss your child's learning needs for the coming year. You can discuss what worked last spring and what didn't, and what skills may need to take priority. You may be asked to waive participants from your meeting due to scheduling. 
This meeting would also be an appropriate time to ask how the online program will work and how will it differ from students' in-class learning. 

Create a visual calendar: This year is sure to be full of several changes in routine. Rely on visual schedules used at home and at school to be as consistent as possible.

Make virtual learning days successful: Opening the lines of communication early on with your child's teacher(s) will make it easier to collaborate when/if an issue arises as learning takes place at home. Collaborate with teachers on strategies for competing schoolwork independently, and whether your child will check in with their teacher on virtual days. Ask them for advice on how to keep your child on the same schedule as in-person days (if applicable).  Are there ways you can work on school goals at home, perhaps through doing chores, sharing with a sibling or helping to prepare a meal?

Whether your child is learning in-person or virtually, they are entitled to receive full services. That may look like instruction from the special education teacher along with services taking place on a virtual platform. Even though the school is not able to send an SLP or OT into your home for services, it may be worth asking if you are allowed to bring your child into the building for services. Some school districts are allowing students with IEPs to spend some time during the week in the school building - this may be an opportunity for services to be addressed.

If your child has sensory issues around wearing a mask: Talk with the OT on your IEP team or a private provider to work on plans to help your child deal with sensory issues. This might include trying different types of masks or fabrics.  If your child has a strong aversion to the mask, a behaviorist might be able to support them through the use of ABA techniques. Talk with your IEP team or private providers to determine the best way to help your child wear a mask when needed. 

Collecting data at home: Data collection can take place virtually while the student is supervised and working independently. Data can also be collected using specific assignments. You can ask for guidance on keeping this data at home. If your child had a 1:1 aide or is receiving hand-over-hand instruction, you may be now assuming that role. As a result, you will need to be advised on the correct techniques.  

Creating consistency: On the days your child is not in school, parents and caregivers will be responsible for supervising educational needs. It's important to remain consistent with the strategies your child's teachers are using in the classroom. Consistency is key- stay in touch with your child's school team to make sure you are following the same protocols.

Modifying hand-over-hand instruction and aide services: Providing these services while maintaining social distance may not be possible for the foreseeable future. Your school team should help you come up with creative ways to achieve these services. By prioritizing your child’s needs and communicating your concerns to your team, together you can come up with the best solution for your child’s educational needs and health.  

Suggestions for Virtual Learning Success

Request an IEP meeting with your team: School districts are still expected to follow IDEA guidelines, and must therefore plan for all IEP directives. Email your child’s teacher and include your district's Director of Special Education, Intervention Specialist or Pupil Services Director on the email to request a virtual meeting to discuss your child's learning needs for the coming year before school starts. You can discuss what worked last spring and what didn't, and what skills may need to take priority. You may be asked to waive participants from your meeting due to scheduling. 
This meeting would also be an appropriate time to ask how the online program will work and how will it differ from students' in-class learning. 

Creating consistency: Since your child is not in a school building, parents and caregivers are responsible for supervising educational needs. It's important to remain consistent with the strategies your child's teachers are using in their classroom, even though it's virtual. Consistency is key- stay in touch with your child's school team to make sure you are following the same protocols.

Whether your child is learning in-person or virtually, they are entitled to receive full services: That may look like instruction from the special education teacher along with services taking place on a virtual platform. Even though the school is not able to send an SLP or OT into your home for services, it may be worth asking if you are allowed to bring your child into the building for services. Some school districts are allowing students with IEPs to spend some time during the week in the school building - this may be an opportunity for services to be addressed.

Determine how data will be collected: Data collection can take place virtually while the student is supervised and working independently. Data can also be collected using specific assignments. You can also ask for guidance on keeping this data at home. If your child had a 1:1 aide or is receiving hand-over-hand instruction, you may be now assuming that role. As a result, you will need to be advised on the correct techniques.   

Make virtual learning days successful: Opening the lines of communication early on with your child's teacher(s) will make it easier to collaborate when/if an issue arises as learning takes place at home. Collaborate with teachers on strategies for competing schoolwork independently. Are there ways you can work on school goals at home, perhaps through doing chores, sharing with a sibling or helping to prepare a meal?

Create a visual calendar: This year is sure to be full of several changes in routine. Rely on visual schedules used at home and at school to be as consistent as possible.

Be patient and have an open line of communication: If something isn’t working reach out to your child’s team and collaborate.

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Need assistance? Let Milestones be your local guide.

Unsure of where to start? Call our free Helpdesk with your questions, and we will do the research for you!

Call: (216) 464-7600 x200