Supporting Your Child With Disabilities Through Online Learning

By eLearning Inside
April 01, 2021

A recent survey done by the Association on Higher Education and Disability found that children living with disabilities had more trouble learning online. They commonly found difficulties accessing the internet, getting support with course materials, using the necessary systems, and communicating with their tutors. If your child is learning for school or college online, there are many ways that you can help support them, so that they can engage in work productively.

Address Physical Comfort

If you child is living with a disability, it is essential for you to address their physical comfort when they are spending time learning online. If they have cerebral palsy, an adaptive chair can help them to stay comfortable and supported while working. The kitchen or office chairs in your home are generally not suitable for sitting in for long. If your child is a wheelchair user, you may find that a curved desk space or a height-adjustable desk is a better option for them than an ordinary work desk. If your child isn’t physically comfortable, then learning effectively will be very difficult.

Online Platform Issues

It may help if you sit with your child through the start of the online learning process so you can identify if there are any issues with the technology or online learning platform. For example, if your child has sight issues, they may find it difficult to deal with the interactive components of an online learning platform. If your child has hearing loss, then you may need to make sure that the closed captions or transcriptions are adequate. Video calls may also be a challenge, particularly if they lip read. If you find that your child has issues with the elearning platform, then you should address this with the school or college so that they can help.

The Working Day

Many schools and colleges have been following a traditional timetabled school day online. However, for a child living with disabilities, this may not be easy. Doing online work in short, manageable sections is the best way to keep engagement levels up, so that it doesn’t become too overwhelming. You may wish to speak to your child’s education facility about structuring your child’s day differently so that it works better for them.

Online learning can sometimes be challenging if your child is living with disabilities. With support, however, you can make sure that they are physically comfortable when studying, and help deal with any accessibility issues.

Featured Image: Jessica Lewis, Unsplash.


  1. Good points, it goes to show, when we move beyond our comfort zone (narrated powerpoint) quite a bit more can be accomplished. The difficulty often lies in the design, not so much the execution of the tool. Speaking of tools, don’t forget to let your readers know that there are other options out there like Lectora and dominKnow that can easily be used to develop this type of content and bring their own pros (and cons) in terms of capabilities.

    Another thing for developers to start thinking about is designing these items as responsive so they can be easily interacted with on smaller and larger devices and stepping away from “shrink the page” designs/tools. At dominKnow – we developed one such sample interactive video based course that was responsive which may be of interest.

  2. Just ran across a tool called Badgr that seems like it might also be a good fit for this. It looks like it can create pretty sophisticated branching pathways that even have a tech-tree look and feel. Very familiar to those of us who grew up playing games. Looking forward to checking it out.

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