Meet Chris: Understanding the Experience of Young Adults with Disabilities Experiences with Remote Learning
During the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020, online platforms became the most viable option to effectively and consistently ensure student progress. With the rapidly evolving incorporation of computers and other devices in instruction, our team was able to seamlessly integrate technology into our remote learning practices.
You should know Chris! Upon meeting this vibrant 20-year-old you may observe that he has down syndrome, but you would absolutely notice his smile! When asked what people wouldn’t expect when they meet him, he responded “I am a great singer, kind, funny, loyal and helpful…” Everyone at iCan Dream Center knows that Chris’ real passion is creating a choir—his tenacity is the driving force behind our seasonal choral concert. Chris has leveraged his innate abilities to learned many new skills since enrolling in iCan Dream Center’s Transition Program after high school. He stated that he wants to continue to improve his ability to “count money.” Naturally, we didn’t want to see our students regress while they are learning from home.
Luckily, technology is at our student’s fingertips with computers, laptops, smart phones and tablets. The technology that is used for remote learning incorporates auditory and visual components permitting accessibility for diverse learners. Studies show that undergraduate students with disabilities are more likely to enroll in distance education. iCan Dream Center is creating a foundation for our students to adapt to the demands of online courses thereby expanding their options upon exiting service.
Many of our students perform digital learning tasks without the immediate supervision of a parent so they must assume more active roles in their own learning thus fostering their sense of agency. Chris stated “…it’s a little hard when the teachers are not by my side but it makes me a little more independent. I’m doing [it] on my own.”
“With proper guidance, disabled students develop the right attitude toward distance education” (Online Learning Benefits to Disabled Students, 2020). Our team engages each student on a daily basis to provide emotional and instructional support. One of our organizational core values is that we “love our students through their transitions.” We recognize that this time is a transition for us all and our hope is that our student’s memories will be marked by the care they received from us during this time.
- “25 Surprising or Little-Known Facts About Online Education.” Online Schools Center, 29 Nov. 2018, www.onlineschoolscenter.com/25-surprising-facts-online-education/.
- “Online Learning Benefits to Disabled Students – Online Bachelors Degrees.” Online Bachelor Degrees, www.online-bachelor-degrees.com/online-learning-benefits-disabled-student/. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
- “Using Khan Academy for Self-Paced Practice (Article).” Khan Academy, Khan Academy, www.khanacademy.org/khan-for-educators/getting-started-teacher-training-us/implementation-strategies-us/classroom-strategies/a/using-khan-academy-for-self-paced-practice. Retrieved April 1, 2020.