Distance Learning as a Form of Accommodation

Distance Learning as a Form of Accommodation

Terence W. Cavanaugh
Copyright: © 2004 |Pages: 32
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-154-4.ch005
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Over the recent past, the population in schools and the options for education have changed. Recently, the number of students identified as special needs has increased, as has the number of special needs students included in “regular” classrooms. Specific laws pertain to their education, including the U.S. Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), which requires that students with disabilities each have Individual Education Plans (IEP). An aspect of the IEP is the possibility of using assistive technology to assist in the student’s education or in accommodation or modifications needed for disabled access. The web-based learning environment itself can be considered an accommodation or modification of instruction to meet the needs of special needs students. Opportunities are increasing in the online distance learning environment for colleges and universities, and the increase is expanding to the high school and middle school programs. When creating online instruction, it is important to follow the accessibility standards such as the Section 508 and W3C accessibility standards to enable persons with disabilities access to the educational material. Within the U.S., more than 26,000 K-12 students classified as IDEA hospital/homebound, received education through some form of “distance education” as of 1999. While the methods of instruction do not commonly include online delivery, it is an option that should be investigated. In-depth examples of a school system’s hospital/homebound program, online programs being used by a school for students with disabilities, and a state public online school and its interactions with students with disabilities are presented. The results of a survey of online schools and their services for students with disabilities are also reported.

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