Helping students with special needs adjust to virtual learning

Originally aired on WKBT – November 30, 2020

For some parents and teachers transitioning students with special needs to online learning can be challenging.

Shelley Gates, an assistant principal for Minnesota Virtual Academy, works closely with the special education program and said students can succeed, it just takes some patience.

She said even though students are in front of a screen it’s important to make them feel like they’re in a classroom environment.

Making sure students can see one another, raise their hands to ask questions, and chat with their teacher makes a big difference.

For some students with special needs, online learning can be a really positive experience.

“They seem to do really well, and some even tend to do better than they did when they were in the brick and mortar because you take out some of those outside distractions, and being in their home environment is a little more comfortable for them,” Gates said.

She also said it’s important to have break-away groups and direct learning opportunities where kids can receive more individualized learning.

To learn more about Minnesota Virtual Academy, visit

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