According to a recent PBS report,(1) around 14% of public school students in the United States are given regular special education services. With Maryland public schools closed until at least May 15th,(2) parents of students with autism spectrum disorder have been facing unique struggles. Many families have expressed concern regarding the potential for regression or even students who simply don’t want to complete the at-home assignments provided by their schools. Other parents, understandably, feel ill-equipped to educate a child who usually receives services from an entire team of people. Plus, many parents work from home, too, making dedicated education time a rare and limited opportunity.
As you work to educate your child with ASD during the coronavirus pandemic, there are several online resources available to help ease the stress of this challenging time. Feel free to explore the following list of helpful websites and organizations:
Howard County Autism Society is maintaining an extensive list of online resources, including helpful and relevant information from Disability Rights Maryland and Maryland State Department of Education. You can also find toolkits, activity ideas, preparedness tips, and social stories, like We Wear Masks. There are resources for adults with autism spectrum disorder and online support groups for parents.
Online Yoga and Fitness Classes
Physical fitness is essential for all of us, but it may have uniquely positive benefits for children with neurobehavioral disorders. Cosmic Kids Yoga is a favorite for teaching mindfulness to children, especially children in elementary school. Howard County Autism Society also provides free, weekly online yoga classes. For indoor exercise, Go Noodle is popular in classrooms across the country. Dancing Without Limits, meanwhile, is offering virtual dance classes for children with special needs.
This resource library is geared toward educators of children with special needs, while Exceptional Lives has a comprehensive Google Docs list of at-home activities for children. The Howard County Library System provides free, online learning and entertainment materials. You can check out audiobooks and ebooks, stream music and television shows, or use newspapers and magazines. The educational program ABC Mouse is also currently offering free access. ABC Mouse is another favorite of schools, especially preschools. You can use access code SCHOOL7771 to play the program’s reading, science, math, music, and art games with your child. You can also explore Scholastic’s Learn at Home activities and projects.
Virtual Field Trips
Enhance your child’s curiosity and explore their interests with virtual field trips. Many museums, venues, and tourist attractions have started providing virtual tours. The National Aquarium lets you visit dolphins, jellyfish, and sharks without leaving your living room. The Maryland Zoo has live webcams of lions, penguins, swans, flamingos, and more. Students can experience the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Older students can even tour the Antietam National Battlefield.
NeuroBehavioral Associates remains open and is conducting no-contact in office assessments. Call 410 772-7155 or email nbatests.com to schedule a comprehensive assessment today.
- Norris, C. (2020, April 29). The challenge of distance learning for parents of children with special needs. Retrieved April 30, 2020, from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/the-challenge-of-distance-learning-for-parents-of-children-with-special-needs
- Orman, S. (2020, April 29). What Will School Look Like For Maryland Students In The Future? Retrieved April 30, 2020, from https://foxbaltimore.com/news/coronavirus/what-will-school-look-like-for-maryland-students-in-the-future