Education Matters: Making distance learning work for special needs students

Education

FRESNO, California (KSEE) – The Adult Transition Program is operated by the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools. It teaches students with special needs the skills needed to live independent lives.

“With our 18 to 22-year-olds, our primary focus of that program is to prepare them for adult learning opportunities or adult day programs that they might enter as an adult,” said Tangee Pinheiro with Fresno County Superintendent of Schools’ Special Education.

Like other students, they are being taught through distance learning.

“During the virtual meetings, I do the best I can I do virtual tours of restaurants or grocery stores to keep that familiar with how that looks out in the community.”

The goal of the Adult Transition Program is to teach these young adults how to be independent and take care of themselves. Teachers do that by taking the students out to public places so they can learn how to interact with others. Then they go into the workplace and volunteer in order to learn job skills.

COVID-19 has made it impossible for them to go out and interact or work, so teaching through distance learning takes a lot of creativity.

Ramirez says it’s a team effort involving the two paraprofessionals in the classroom, but adds that the work would be impossible without the help of the parents and caregivers.

“I love that they are very parent-involved,” said parent Michelle Hill. “They ask us how we feel about things or our input.”

Michelle Hill’s daughter is in the program.

“Although she is not verbal, her facial expression says it all. Just seeing how excited she gets just to see everybody is an awesome feeling.”

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