ESE Support Services Resources

School districts must provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of students with disabilities and those individuals providing education, specialized instruction, and related services to these students. In this unique and ever-changing environment, OCR and OSERS recognize that these exceptional circumstances may affect how all educational and related services and supports are provided, and the Department will offer flexibility where possible. However, school districts must remember that the provision of FAPE may include, as appropriate, special education and related services provided through distance instruction provided virtually, online, or telephonically.

The Department understands that, during this national emergency, schools may not be able to provide all services in the same manner they are typically provided. While some schools might choose to safely, and in accordance with state law, provide certain IEP services to some students in-person, it may be unfeasible or unsafe for some institutions, during current emergency school closures, to provide hands-on physical therapy, occupational therapy, or tactile sign language educational services.

Many disability-related modifications and services may be effectively provided online. These may include, for instance, extensions of time for assignments, videos with accurate captioning or embedded sign language interpreting, accessible reading materials, and many speech or language services through video conferencing. (USDOE, 2020)

ESE Staff members that provide services for specialized areas (Speech/Language, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Vision, Deaf/Hard of Hearing) will review student IEP’s and determine which services can be done remotely. This is an unprecedented time in our history, OCPS staff will make every effort to meet student needs given the current conditions. OCPS support services staff will be in communication with parents of students in the near future to discuss potential remote learning.

Exceptional Student Education Parents without Digital Access

For Exceptional Student Education school families these are some examples of activities to support learning at home. We recommend the following activities for the week beginning March 23, 2020.


  • If your child has Speech and/or Language Therapy services on their Individual Education Plan (IEP) your child’s therapist will contact you.


  • Model the correct production of your child’s speech sounds. 
  • Practice your child’s speech sounds at least 10 minutes a day (e.g., isolation, syllable, words, phrases/sentences).


  • While reading a story or article; ask questions related to the story and/or article (who, what, when, where, why, how).
  • Identify and define unfamiliar words when reading a story with your child.  Try using the word in a sentence.
  • Watch a movie or read a book and sequence and retell the events as they occurred. 

Deaf/Hard of Hearing

  • If your child has Deaf Hard of Hearing services on their Individual Education Plan (IEP) your child’s teacher will contact you.
  • It is important to check your child’s personal amplification (hearing aids, cochlear implants etc..) every morning and make sure he/she continues to wear it throughout the day.  Communicate any device issues to your personal Audiologist or OCPS Audiologist. The OCPS Audiologist can be contacted by emailing [email protected]
  • Continue to use and support your child’s preferred mode of communication as indicated on their IEP.
  • Engage in home activities that include rich language and vocabulary: use daily routines, age-appropriate books, and ask questions and initiate discussions that require expanded responses and multiple exchanges.
  • Enable closed captioning on the television to provide additional opportunities to connect listening and text.

Visually Impaired

  • If your child has Visually Impaired services on their Individual Education Plan (IEP) your child’s teacher will contact you.
  • Have your child help with household chores and show them a new skill for a household activity: make bed, help with laundry, set the table, put dishes away, vacuum, get the mail, etc.
  • Read stories out loud to your child or have them read to you- stopping and thinking what might happen next, retelling what happened in the story, tell why they liked or didn’t like the story.
  • Collect items in your child’s environment and have them make experiential books or box with the items (EX: outside - collect different leaves or stones from doing a walk, put items together for brushing teeth) and have them review items with conversations about: what the items were for, how they were used or where they were found.
  • Identify sounds environmental sounds your child hears (sounds coming from different rooms as well as the same room, etc.) and where they are in relation to your child (in front, behind, left, right, up above, near, far away, etc). 

Occupational Therapy

  • If your child has Occupational Therapy services on their Individual Education Plan (IEP) your child’s therapist will contact you.
  • Fine motor activities you can do with your child: Cut straws, paper or junk mail, Sort items using kitchen tongs or tweezers, practice writing strokes and letters with sidewalk chalk or shaving cream and playdoh.
  • Write a journal with your child including; the events of the day or a story read; add pictures with details and color with small crayons and small pencils.
  • Have your child participate in chores and household activities completed together such as making meals, sorting laundry, feeding pets, and gardening.

Physical Therapy

  • If your child has Physical Therapy services on their Individual Education Plan (IEP) your child’s therapist will contact you.
  • Encourage movement with your child as appropriate:
    • set up an obstacle course in your home or backyard 
    • have a dance party in sitting or standing
    • play ball activities in sitting or standing such as: throwing, kicking, catching, hitting a target
    • play with a hula hoop or jump rope
    • play Twister
  • Balance activities: walking on balance beam or line, standing on one foot, walking sideways & backwards, hopping, jumping all directions


  • Use a checklist for a list of tasks to complete with rewards
  • Use a rewards chart
  • Practice sharing

Students with Learning Disabilities

  • Read books and magazines
  • Daily writing journal
  • Write about the stories, characters, and topics that you read about
  • Write stories that include characters, problems, and solutions
  • Write letters to service members and community helpers, thanking them for their service
  • Write letters to family members
  • Printing or cursive handwriting practice
  • Practice math skills such as counting, comparing, ordering, rounding, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing using games
  • Engage in real world math activities (cooking, creating word problems, measurement, etc.)
  • Use measuring tools to cook family meals
  • Predict and measure how much liquid various items found at home can hold
  • Identify, create, sort, and name various shapes
  • Build larger shapes from smaller ones
  • Look for various number, color, and/or shape patterns in the environment
  • Engage in real world science activities comparing objects, cause and effect questions, etc.)
  • Take a nature walk and write observations
  • Track weather observations
  • Observe and journal about living and nonliving things in their environment
  • Do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day