Inclusive Special Education Remote Instruction I-SERI


Welcome to the Inclusive Special Education Remote Instruction research study site.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to pivot to remote instruction and related services, impacting the educational service delivery for millions of children in the spring of 2020. We’re hoping to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 specifically on students with extensive support needs and their accessibility to remote instruction and related services. picture of students with severe disabilities with peers

We are interested in learning about successful approaches and needed solutions for remote instruction of, and related service provision for, 

  • students with extensive support needs, 
  • who were in public schools grades 3, 4, or 5 during the Spring of 2020, and 
  • who were included in general education classes for a portion of the school day. 

Note: “Students with extensive support needs”  refers to students who require extensive support in multiple areas of functioning (academics, communication social skills, self-care (e.g., eating, dressing, grooming), and mobility) across settings (e.g., home, school, and community).

We are focusing on the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, and North Carolina and will collect information from parents/caregivers, students with extensive support needs, special education teachers, and related service providers.  

Study Components

The study is comprised of three components:  

(a) a survey about remote instruction;  

(b) focus groups about remote instruction; and 

(c) optional case study including focus groups with existing IEP Team members along with student photo-representation and artifact review.

The first step is a short screening questionnaire to make sure all respondents meet the following criteria: 

Parents/Caregivers, Special Education Teachers, and Related Service Providers for children

    • Who reside in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island, or Virginia, and
    • Who have severe disabilities requiring extensive support to communicate and participate in activities of daily living, and
    • Who before COVID school closures spent half of their time or more in a public school 3rd, 4th, or 5th-grade general education classroom.

We will send a link for the survey to all people who meet the criteria. In the survey, you will be asked to answer some questions about yourself, your child(ren)/student(s); the nature of instructional or related services received or provided; and about successful approaches and needed solutions to remote instruction for your child(ren)/student(s). The survey will take approximately 20 -30 minutes to complete and can be filled in online, or a hard copy of the survey can be sent via mail. 

Most participants (depending on the total number in each state) will participate  in a focus group with others in similar roles (i.e., parents/caregivers with other parents/caregivers; special education teachers with other special education teachers; therapists with other therapists in similar roles, etc.)  The focus groups will take approximately 90 minutes, and will be conducted remotely via Zoom. 

A few participants in each state will be asked to participate in an optional case study. 

We do not anticipate that there are any risks to participating in the study. You do not have to answer any questions that make you feel uncomfortable and can withdraw from any part of the research you wish at any point in time. While there are no direct benefits, you may derive satisfaction from knowing that information may aid other students in the future. 

The Research Team Leadership

The primary researchers conducting this study are:

Dr. Zachary Rossetti, Ph.D., and Dr. Donna Lehr, Ph.D.
Special Education Program
Department of Teaching and Learning
Wheelock College of Education and Human Development
Boston University 

Meet the full team here.

For more information:

Please email us at