By Elisabeth Galina
While the pandemic may be in our rearview, the disastrous results still linger. Besides children being forced indoors and away from their peers (except virtual learning), the after-effects of a global calamity require major shifts in learning going forward.
Children with developmental delays were the hardest hit. What can we do to get our youngest learners back on track? Can early childhood education ramp up, leading kids to better and brighter academic futures? The answer is YES and you can help.
But first, let’s explore the data. Don’t worry, we won’t make it boring. Data can be fun, just like you’ll tell your students when you become a certified education specialist - more on that later.
Special Education Covid Learning Loss: What the Data Tells Us
During the early stages of the pandemic, children with developmental delays were not fortunate enough to receive the critical services they needed to excel.
Moreover, during the fall of 2020, preschool and elementary school-aged children saw a drop in proper intervention services that could get them back on the necessary academic tracks as their peers.
According to a report by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) during the pandemic:
- Tens of thousands of children with developmental delays across the U.S. did not receive early intervention (EI) and early childhood special education (ECSE)
- Asian and Black children were given fewer ECSE tools and services than their white peers
- Boys were twice as likely as girls to get EI and ECSE services
- 77,000 fewer 3- and 4-year-olds and 63,000 fewer infants and toddlers were not given access to EI services and special education means
- Support for children 3 and under has increased somewhat in the fall of 2021, support for the 4 and up set has decreased even more
- Income disparity affects children even though every state must adhere to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and provide services to youngsters with developmental disabilities pro bono or at a reduced rate
- Children were less likely to get ESCE or EI help in inclusive classroom environments. But, were more likely to receive these educational tools in a community-based setting such as one-on-one tutoring or smaller after-school learning groups
- 45% of children in ECSE nationally are labeled as having a developmental delay with the other most common classifications being speech or language disability at 36% and autism at 12%
Before the Covid-19 crisis, Asian, Black, and Hispanic children were already at risk of disparities across the early intervention landscape for reasons that can only be linked to racism and bias from the overall educational community. The pandemic only brought it to the forefront.
See, data doesn’t have to be boring. But it can be infuriating once you learn how certain groups have been sidelined and given little to no tools to proceed in their educational development even at a state-funded public school where the emphasis is on comprehensive classroom learning.
Early Childhood Education: How to Tackle Developmental Delays
Remember in the intro to this piece how we said you can help? You can become a special education teacher through various certification programs.
We’ll focus on Arizona but you can accelerate your teaching status from home, no matter which state you live in. As long as you have Wi-Fi, you can start building a long-lasting scholastic environment that encourages children with developmental delays to shine alongside their contemporaries.
Support special needs children in AZ now
The Grand Canyon State is in need of special educators. When you start intervention early for children with developmental delays, it lessens the need for future special education classes and readies kids for the rest of their schooling.
It’s like when you were little and your parents told you to eat everything on your plate otherwise you’d be hungry later. Children with developmental delays are hungry for special education assistance now. It doesn’t matter if they’ll be hungry tomorrow if they can’t access the educational interventions they need today.
Through our Teacher Certification Program (TCP), you’ll receive qualifications to teach in Arizona and take the first steps toward undoing the lasting destructive educational effects of the pandemic. Additionally, the TCP coursework is online and you can do your hands-on clinical placement anywhere in the United States via reciprocity or at an international U.S. school abroad. Bonjour!
Get certified in your favorite discipline
Besides the ability to earn your certification online, you can choose from a variety of licensure fields:
- K-12 Special Education Mild to Moderate Disabilities
- K-8 Elementary Education
- 6-12 Secondary Education
You’ll also be able to select one of these fields to specialize in:
- Art - From painting to drawing to sculpting, art can help children learn tactical skills and hand-eye coordination.
- Biology - We’re all made of cells, why not show students the inner workings of the human body?
- Business - The leaders of tomorrow need your help today.
- Chemistry - Beakers! Burners! Biotech!
- Economics - Showing young people how the economy works can equip them with the means to survive adulthood. We all have to pay taxes.
- Languages: English, French, German, or Spanish
- Geography - Where are we? What borders us? What’s overseas?
- General Science - Show children that science is cool (because it is).
- History - How did we get to where we are today?
- Health - Demonstrate to children how to stay healthy and what they can do to get active.
- Mathematics - From simple arithmetic to advanced calculations, students need to understand numbers.
- Music - Like other forms of art, children can learn hand-eye coordination and tactical skills from playing an instrument and also become great listeners as they learn to pick up notes by ear.
- Physics - Make matter and energy exciting and easy to learn.
- Political Science - Wouldn’t it be great to show students how the American government works so they can be prepared for that magical time when they’re of legal voting age?
- Social Studies - Help children understand humanity to give them everything they need to function in society as they get older.
Next Steps: Go Forth and Teach
The special education Covid learning loss is fixable if we put in a little effort. Being a hero is easy. Being a child with developmental delays is not. Be a hero and turn those pandemic early childhood educational delays into an exciting academic future for kids in the U.S.