Kellems Ryan, Wheatley Alex, Petersen Doug, Cutrer-Párraga Elizabeth:

Perceptions of Special Education Services Delivered Through Online Learning Environments During COVID-19

2022/2 | #COVID #disability #distance learning #online learning #pandemic #special education | DOI: 10.31287/FT.en.2022.2.2

Elementary and secondary schools saw a major shift in how instruction was delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools across the United States shut down or participated in online learning. This shift to online learning led many to question how special education services should be delivered to students with disabilities. The purpose of this study was to gauge perceptions of special education services delivered in a remote learning environment during a public health crisis. Teachers, related service providers, and parents of students with disabilities (n = 108) from across the United States were surveyed. Results showed synchronous online learning to be the most prevalent form of providing special education services. However, participants largely viewed online instruction as ineffective at providing quality services for students with disabilities. Implications for improving online services for students with disabilities could include identifying specific reasons for participants’ negative views which may lead to more actionable steps in improving online learning moving forward. In addition, examining actions taken by schools that have led to positive impressions of online learning among parents and educators could also be used to improve perceptions of online instruction for students with disabilities. Directions for future research are also discussed.