Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this study being conducted?

What is the purpose of the study?

We are interested in learning about successful approaches and needed solutions for remote instruction of students with extensive support needs.  The switch from in-person to remote instruction required school personnel and parents/caregivers to rethink how to provide education and related services to students. We want to learn what worked and what did not work for this population of students. 

Why focus on remote instruction if the vaccines are rolling out and schools will likely be open again soon?

There are several reasons why we are focusing on this mode of instruction. 

It is not clear when students will be able to return to school, and the information learned may be helpful to improving instruction for students.  

Some vulnerable students may not be able to return to school when others are able to.  

While we hope this is not the case, it is possible that a situation may occur in the future when remote instruction is again necessary. 

There may be advantages to remote instruction and we are interested in learning what they are either as a sole or augmentative mode of instruction.

Who can participate in this study?

Who should fill out the survey?

We have two different surveys:

One for parents/caregivers of students with extensive support needs, and  

One for special education teachers and related service personnel serving students with extensive support needs. 

Can I fill out a survey if my child is no longer in school?

If you mean your child is no longer attending school in person, the answer is yes. 

Can I fill out a survey if my child had been included with students without disabilities at lunch and recess only when they attended school in person? 

We are seeking information about children/students with extensive support needs who are included with students without disabilities a minimum of 50% of the school day. 

What do you mean when you say extensive support needs? 

We consider students who have extensive support needs to be those who require extensive support in multiple areas of functioning (academic, communication, social skills, self-care (e.g., eating, dressing, grooming), and mobility across multiple settings (e.g., home, school, and community)., For example, they may be unable to feed themselves, dress themselves, walk without a lot of assistance, bathe or shower independently, or communicate with others without a great deal of assistance. 

I know a parent/caregiver, teacher, or related service provider who fits the criteria.  How do I let them know about this study?

Please either share the link to the screening survey with the person who you know, let us know about the person by emailing us at, or have the person email us at

What do I have to do to participate? 

All participants will complete a survey.  In addition, some participants who complete the survey may be asked to participate in a focus group.

 Survey participation: 

There are two surveys that are part of this study. 

        • Screening survey – This type of survey is designed to determine if survey takers match the study participation criteria.  Those who do will be asked to complete the study survey. 

        • Study survey –  This survey is designed to collect background information about survey takers and their experiences with remote instruction. 

Focus group participation: 

A focus group is a small group of 4 – 8 similar participants (for example, 4 – 8 parents/caregivers or 4- 8  teachers or 4 – 8 therapists) who meet remotely via computer for approximately 90 minutes. During this time, a researcher asks questions to guide a discussion on a particular topic.  In this study, the questions are focused on successful practices and needed solutions to remote instruction for students with extensive support needs. Throughout the focus group meeting, notes will be taken for later review so that we may identify patterns in the ideas and concerns shared by participants. 

How will I know if I have been chosen to participate in a focus group?

A member of the research team will contact you should you be selected for focus group participation. 

When will focus groups be conducted?

We expect to conduct focus groups during the months of April and May.

What are the benefits of participating in this study? 

The primary benefit of participation is knowing your information will contribute to the field’s understanding of successful approaches and needed solutions to remote instruction for students with extensive support needs. 

All survey completers will be eligible for a chance to win a $25 gift card. Three names will be drawn randomly from the pool of completers in each targeted state (MA, RI, NC, and VA). 

All Parents/guardians selected to participate in focus groups will be provided with a $25 gift card. 


Will my name, or my child/student/s name, be revealed/disclosed? 

We will replace names collected from participants with numbers and a master list of names and numbers will be known only to the researchers and will be kept in a secure location.  We will use no identifying information in any reports generated from this study.