May Newsletter | Lessons Learned

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Turning Lessons Learned Into Opportunities

for the Future

Nearly every facet of education has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting challenges are too numerous to list. However, pivoting to digital teaching and learning has provided us with many new and unexpected opportunities. STAR Autism Support has created systems to meet rapidly changing needs, including: curricula and materials for digital learning, virtual professional development, family and caregiver digital training, virtual progress monitoring, and virtual consultations. Despite countless challenges, five big opportunities for continued growth have emerged in the past year:

1. Technology as a Tool

Digital learning has facilitated a level of interaction and collaboration that has never before been possible. Real-time, synchronous teaching from a trained instructor, family caregiver coaching, and REELs (Remote Education for Exceptional Learners) have been updated to address the complex needs of students in remote and hybrid learning. Have you seen the latest REEL technology, complete with new and updated home supports? Check it out here.

Research shows that collaboration between teachers and families can lead to positive outcomes in multiple areas of learning, including communication skills, social skills, and academics—and families and teachers now have an unprecedented framework for communication through STAR platforms. Transitioning to in-person learning allows SOLS, REELs, and more to follow students into the classroom, providing a familiar curricular baseline.

“THANK YOU for all you have done with SOLS! I couldn’t imagine remote teaching without the amazing lessons, routines, and resources you have made available! I’m in Week 6 of SOLS and my students are loving the lessons and the songs and stories that are included!”

SOLS teacher feedback

2. Family Collaboration

Families are life-long teachers, and resources like home support webinars help to support caretakers in as many ways as possible. Increased opportunities for school-home collaboration help students to generalize skills and learn new home routines. Consistency between home and school has always been a goal, and new digital learning paradigms like SOLS facilitate this synchronization like never before.

3. Flexibility in Programming

Multi-modal materials, individual and small group instruction, and flexible scheduling all contribute to positive outcomes that have benefited many students. Additionally, students with greater medical needs, high absenteeism, or who cannot attend school for other reasons are now able to receive instruction in a format that can be integrated into their everyday lives. 

4. Consistency

Consistency between learning environments is key to student success—whether those environments include home, school, digital learning, or a hybrid model. As always, STAR uses evidence-based strategies, regardless of learning environments. Now with resources like SOLS, students’ progress can be monitored between environment, allowing for increased alignment of IEP goals, data, and assessments. The resulting data is a powerful tool in monitoring students’ skills generalization and in improving instruction.

5. Sustainability

STAR has established new platforms for digital professional development and staff training. These valuable trainings provide opportunities for more classroom observations, more one-on-one meetings between trainers and teachers, and for digital consultations when a classroom visit would otherwise be unfeasible. One new platform is our podcast, The Autism Annex. The Autism Annex episodes are released monthly and discuss valuable, relevant, and thought-provoking topics with respected industry leaders, professionals, autistic people, and standout teachers and staff. Click on the image on the right to listen to our most recent episode, Lessons Learned! 

"Great presentation and materials! Where were you 35 years ago?! All the icons and templates I had to produce myself,'s all here in this one program! Even aligning IEP with curriculum! I wish I had this training/program when I first started teaching,...and now with the family component, even better!"

Teacher Feedback

Summer ESY and PD opportunities
ESSER and CRRSA Act funding