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Learning with Special Needs at Outschool
Learning with Special Needs at Outschool

Advice for parents and teachers

Updated over a week ago

Outschool’s community is connected by the same desire: to help all learners succeed by enjoying learning! We are an inclusive community of learners and educators, with experience teaching thousands of children of many learning abilities.

We have received several requests for classes that are focused on unique learning abilities, special education techniques, or specific adaptations. Below are some helpful tips we’ve put together for our users to best support learners with special abilities.


Many Outschool educators have experience teaching children with a wide range of abilities. Other educators may not have a formal background in teaching unique learners, but have a natural skill in this area. When selecting a class for your learner, we recommend messaging the educator directly, to introduce your learner and share any accommodations they may need. The teacher will let you know whether they are the right fit for your family.

When you enroll your learner in class, you can message the teacher with any context that they should have about your learner. If your learner has a 504 Plan, IEP, or other learning modification document, please do not share these documents with educators, as they often have personally identifiable information on them. We want to protect your privacy. Instead, you are welcome to share relevant instructional strategies, interventions, modifications, and/or resources with your Outschool teachers.

By providing the educator with context on your learner’s needs, you are helping to set your child up for a successful learning experience. Some things that you might consider sharing with the educator include:

  • If your learner needs additional wait time

  • If your learner needs visual prompting or cueing

  • Any aversions that your learner might have toward the topic or certain activities

  • Strategies that work (or don’t work) for your unique learner

​If you wish to have a section for your child and their friends of similar learning abilities to learn together, you can ask the teacher to set up a private section for you. They’ll share the link with you and your child’s friends so the class is designed exclusively for them.

We trust that you know what is best for your child to feel included and supported in the classroom, and what special learning adaptations work best for them. The Outschool team is here to support your child’s educational experience, so please reach out if you have additional questions.


Before you teach:

  • List any special education certification(s), licensure(s), or endorsement(s) on your teacher profile and within the Teacher Expertise portion of your class listings.

  • Highlight any specific programs that you have completed professional learning for (ex: Wilson Reading, Montessori, etc.) within your teacher profile and Teacher Expertise portion of your class listings.

  • Share success stories that you’ve had with learners, and be sure to keep all personal identifiable information (PII) out of the testimonies.

  • Ensure that your class listings, including the video, highlight what makes you an expert on that topic/strategy, how your class(es) will support their learners, and what they can expect from you.

  • Families are often looking for classes that solve a gap in their child’s learning experience. You should clearly articulate your experience, expertise, and benefits so families understand why they should enroll in your classes.

  • Communicate with families to ensure that you are aware of any modifications or learning goals/preferences that learners need to succeed.

During class:

  • Monitor both verbal and nonverbal clues to determine if scaffolding or extending is needed to support the acquisition of learning.

  • Balance scaffolding, intersubjectivity, and discovery learning to maintain engagement and decrease learning frustrations.

  • Provide opportunities for learners to showcase their knowledge in formats and times that best align with their unique learning needs.

  • Make note of wins, struggles, and next steps for learners so that you can share those with families.

After class:

  • Follow-up with families to share wins, struggles, and next steps for their learners. Be sure to balance the jargon that may come as a result of your expertise with the laymen’s terms that some families might need or prefer.

  • Reflect on your own practices to ensure that you’re continuing to identify opportunities for your own growth.

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