Resources and Guidance 

Being Socially Isolated With Mental Illness: A Perspective for Loved Ones

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

It can be hard to understand the needs of loved ones with mental health issues. This blog post, written by an individual with multiple mental health conditions, explains how the social isolation of the COVID-19 crisis triggers some of her symptoms—and how her family and friends can help.

Coronavirus: Mental Health Coping Strategies

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

The coronavirus pandemic may be affecting a loved one’s mental health, or your own, and it’s especially true for those with mental illness. This article describes symptoms to watch out for and offers practical coping strategies to help protect mental health.

Coronavirus: Mental Health Coping Strategies

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

The coronavirus pandemic may be affecting a loved one’s mental health, or your own, and it’s especially true for those with mental illness. This article describes symptoms to watch out for and offers practical coping strategies to help protect mental health.

COVID-19 Resources for Tourette Syndrome

Tourette Association of America

People with Tourette syndrome and tic disorders, as well as those impacted by co-occurring conditions like ADHD, OCD, anxiety, and depression, can use these resources from the Tourette Association of America. It includes videos, webinars, and other resources that address issues related to COVID-19.

Navigating COVID-19 When Your Child/Youth Has a Disability

Families Together, Inc.

Families of students with health impairments or disabilities can use this compilation to navigate issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes resources for dealing with anxiety and remote learning, as well as issues facing those with specific impairments or disabilities.

IEP Progress Monitoring With Distance Learning

University of Kansas

Educators can use this IEP goal tracking sheet to collect student data during distance learning. There are options for involving parents, paraprofessionals, and students, depending on each student’s particular needs.

Caring for Your Child’s Hearing Health at Home: Guidance for Maintaining Hearing Devices, Improving Communication

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

As families shelter in place due to COVID-19, children with hearing loss may need additional help. ASHA offers this guidance to parents (available in English and in Spanish) about hearing aids, communication habits, and prioritizing regular care.

Hearing Loss and Remote Work: Advice for Effective Communication During Virtual Meetings

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

With virtual meetings a critical tool for U.S. workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, people with hearing loss may experience new communication challenges. ASHA offers tips for making virtual meetings more effective for everyone, including students and families.

Guidance for People Sheltering at Home With Swallowing Disorders

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

People with swallowing disorders may not have access to their usual treatment sessions with speech-language pathologists during the COVID-19 crisis. ASHA suggests steps to promote recovery, as well as tips to safely eat and drink to avoid rehospitalization.

10 Ways Children With Language Disorders Can Maintain Both Physical Distance and Social Connection During the Coronavirus Pandemic

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

For children with language disorders, social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 can lead to fewer opportunities to practice language skills. ASHA suggests ways to help kids interact socially during this time, including setting up video playdates, reading together, and talking about TV shows.

Zoom Meetings and Stuttering: Tips to Make Virtual Interactions More Successful

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

Children and adults who stutter face extra challenges when using videoconference apps like Zoom. ASHA offers tips for making these virtual interactions more successful.

At Home With Young Children? Build Preschoolers’ Speech and Language Skills With Everyday Interactions and Activities

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

As families shelter in place, parents of preschoolers can help build their child’s speech and language skills during everyday activities at home. ASHA describes key communication skills for children ages 3–5, and offers suggestions for how parents can help.

Re-Opening Resource: Brooklyn LAB Back to School Facilities Tool Kit

Brooklyn LAB

Brooklyn LAB worked with several partners to develop a tool kit for returning to school buildings, consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Federation of Teachers. It focuses on health and safety and ways to update classrooms, breakout rooms, and common spaces.

Communication Supports for Children and Adults With Complex Communication Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (RERC on AAC)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people with complex communication challenges may find it more difficult than usual to understand what is happening, to express needs and wants, and to get important information. This site offers tips and resources for these individuals and their families and caregivers.

COVID-19 Materials for People Living With Spina Bifida: Guidance During a Global Pandemic

Spina Bifida Association

This reference sheet for educators of individuals with spina bifida outlines academic struggles and strengths common among these students. It may be especially useful for educators and administrators who are working on distance learning accommodations for students with spina bifida.

Recommendations for School Accommodations: Physical and Occupational Therapy

Muscular Dystrophy Association

These accommodations and adaptations for students with muscular dystrophy are useful both for educators in the school setting and for parents during distance learning. Parents can use this list to remind them what they need to make a plan for with their child’s teachers.

COVID-19 Recommendations for the Neuromuscular Community

Muscular Dystrophy Association

This booklet from MDA will help teachers understand the challenges faced by children and adolescents with neuromuscular conditions. Students with conditions like muscular dystrophy may be particularly at risk from exposure to the coronavirus, and care must be taken regarding the spread of germs in the classroom and beyond.

COVID-19 Video Series: Creating a Routine While You Are Stuck at Home

Brain Injury Association of America

People with brain injury who are staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic may find it useful to organize their days. In this video, a clinical neuropsychologist gives advice for creating daily routines, based on research and clinical expertise in working with people with brain injury.

Home Learning During the Pandemic for Students With Concussion

G. F. Strong School Program (VSB), Adolescent and Young Adult Program, G. F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre

Students recovering from concussion may find it especially challenging to engage in distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. This tip sheet offers practical advice for setting up a workspace, creating a daily schedule, managing symptoms, and more.

How TVIs and O&M Instructors Are Handling the Challenges of Distance Learning, Part 1

American Foundation for the Blind

Teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs) and orientation and mobility (O&M) instructors share their experiences from distance learning during the COVID-19 crisis. In part 1, a parent describes what’s been challenging and what’s gone well for her daughter, a high school sophomore enrolled in AP classes.

How TVIs and O&M Instructors Are Handling the Challenges of Distance Learning, Part 2

American Foundation for the Blind

Teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs) and orientation and mobility (O&M) instructors share their experiences from distance learning during the COVID-19 crisis. In part 2, the president of the Council of Schools and Services for the Blind and a TVI and O&M instructor describe how they’ve been meeting students’ needs.

COVID-19: Families Seeking Accessible PreK-12 Remote Education

National Association of the Deaf

Families of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing may need to advocate for their child’s needs in remote learning, especially if their child is in a mainstreamed setting. Issues like videoconferencing, captioning, and using interpreters are included.

Adapted PE Home Activities

Brad M. Weiner, M. Ed., NBCT, CAPE

These resources are a compilation of ways to do adapted PE for kids with autism, intellectual disabilities, and many other differences. There are fun skill-building activities for kids from preschool through high school.

Distance Learning Opportunities

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

This compilation for parents of blind, visually impaired, and deafblind children, from Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, includes information about health and wellness, family resources, working from home when your child is at home, and more. Their curriculum books for basic skills and independent living are especially robust resources.

At-home activities for your child

Perkins School for the Blind

Information, tips, and activities from teachers at Perkins School for the Blind can help parents keep kids engaged in learning, no matter where the lessons take place. Included are occupational therapy ideas, fun math games, and more.

What Is the Expanded Core Curriculum?

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) is a disability-specific set of skills that compensates for vision loss and is foundational to all other learning. It focuses on independence, assistive technology, vocational training, social engagement and more to prepare your child for his or her fullest life possible. Parents of students who are blind or visually impaired can learn more about its nine areas in this flyer, including career education, assistive technology, independent living skills, and more.

Virtual ExCEL Summer Camp

American Printing House (APH)

The Virtual ExCEL Camp will include a live hour at 2:00 ET, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and is free to all registrants. Also included will be five at-home extension activities for the camp theme.

Leader Dogs for the Blind Summer Camp

Leader Dogs for the Blind

Leader Dogs for the Blind offers teens ages 14–17 an awesome lineup of virtual summer camp activities. Explore guide dog travel, leadership skills, and more via Zoom, and keep the fun going all week with a game session, a private Facebook group, and lots more!

Coronavirus: Mental Health Treatment

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

During the COVID-19 crisis, some people may experience added stress, anxiety, and depression and need to seek out mental health treatment. This resource covers options such as telepsychiatry, medication, and mental health apps, along with issues related to health insurance.

Family Resources for Students With Complex Learning Needs

PA Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN)

PaTTAN and the Bureau of Special Education have put together information to help families and professionals supporting children with disabilities in remote learning. Included are resources for academic subjects, adapted PE, assistive technology, and more for complex learners.

Four Ways to Learn About Employment

Employment First Florida

Job seekers with disabilities can use these resources when looking for a career that’s a good fit. The site offers online lessons, facts about employment for people with disabilities, and personal stories and videos about finding a job.

Dealing With COVID-19 When Working With People Who Have Developmental Disabilities

Smore.com

Special educators, therapists, and families of people with developmental disabilities can find curated COVID-19 resources here. It includes graphics, videos, and more about topics like hygiene, social distancing, and learning at home, with some materials available in Spanish.

Distance Learning Resources to Support Students With Significant Intellectual Disabilities

Project SUCCESS

This compilation features resources to help teachers and administrators support higher academic achievement for students with disabilities. While primarily created for Indiana educators, the general resources, webinars, and virtual trainings could be useful to any educator whose students have significant cognitive disabilities.

Helping Traumatized Students Learn

Trauma Sensitive Schools

Students, familes and educators alike are facing stressful challenges resulting from sudden school closures and abrupt shifts to remote learning. The Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative convened a group of trauma-sensitive school leaders to listen to the many ways in which they are using the trauma lens to buffer the traumatic effects of these challenges and to guide their work in these difficult times.

Coronavirus: Building Mental Health Resilience

National Alliance of Mental Illness

Families and educators can use these tips from the National Alliance of Mental Illness to find healthy ways to adapt and cope with adversity and distress during the pandemic. Older students may also find this information useful for independent use.

A Trauma-Informed Approach to Teaching Through Coronavirus

Tolerance.Org

Educators supporting students during the COVID-19 pandemic can use this information from National Child Traumatic Stress Network experts. Their trauma-informed recommendations can help educators navigate routines, communcation, relationships, well-being, and more.

Bereavement Resources

Marshall Street

Communities dealing with the loss of a community member can find bereavement resources here. Topics include communicating the loss to the rest of the community, supporting the family’s needs, and providing space to acknowledge what happened and how they feel.

Key Considerations for Promoting Culturally Relevant SEL During COVID-19

IES REL Pacific

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unique social-emotional challenges to students across the globe. Social distancing efforts have changed daily routines, separated many students from their social support networks and, for some, have introduced and exacerbated stressors within their living environments. These social-emotional challenges disproportionately affect students who are racial minorities and from working-class families, as they are at higher risk for exposure to the coronavirus and the stresses related to social distancing efforts.

STEM Classes and Kids With Special Needs

MiddleWeb

STEM educators can help students with disabilities—and all students—experience success with methods like hands-on engagement, built-in stopping and starting points, and project-based learning. Strategies for students with special needs include assuming competency, building on strengths and interests, and using assistive technology.

25 Practical Ways to Use Google Forms in Class and at School

Ditch That Textbook

Educators and administrators can use Google Forms to track student performance, create lesson plans, brainstorm with colleagues, and more. Plus students can learn how to create their own Google Form–it’s a fun way for them to show what they know.

English Learners With Disabilities: Shining a Light on Dual-Identified Students

New America

This brief can help policymakers, advocates, and practitioners take strategic action on behalf of ELs with disabilities. It provides an overview of the separate but intersecting federal policies that govern the identification of and services provided to these students.

Assessing Language Proficiency During Extended School Closures

Council of the Great City Schools

These sample questionnaires can be used remotely during school closures to provisionally identify K–12 students as beginning, intermediate, or advanced English learners (ELs). Also find suggestions for supports that are appropriate for ELs, including those with disabilities.

Case Manager Closeout

Diverse Learners Cooperative

IEP case managers who need to wrap up their responsibilities for this unusual school year—and plan for next year—can use this checklist to be sure that students are sent to their next setting with all the information the team needs. Steps for compliance, student transfer, and caseload planning are included.

Step-by-Step Planner: UDL Lesson Design

Understood

Teachers can use this template to plan lessons using the principles of Universal Design for Learning. A lesson planned with UDL principles meets the needs of all students, presenting information in multiple formats and allowing students to display mastery in various ways.

GUIDANCE: USDOE English Language Learner Guidelines

United States Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education offers guidances to help states, districts, and schools provide effective services to English learners (ELs), to improve their proficiency and achievement and ensure that they’re college and career ready. It can be used with the department’s guidance on IDEA to support ELs with a specific learning disability (SLD).

National Deaf Center: COVID-19 Information Page

National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (NDC)

Educators will find information on best practices for serving deaf and hard of hearing students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Deaf students will also find resources, such as tips for getting the most out of online learning.

Get the Life You Want: A Transition Toolbox

Green Mountain Self-Advocates

This toolkit offers plain language information about the COVID-19 pandemic for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It includes resources for working with support staff, getting unemployment benefits, and more.

Guidance on Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Remote Education

Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools

This document outlines what teachers, families, school leaders, and students need to know about learning from home. It includes recommendations and resources for creating culturally responsive-sustaining remote education.

6 Fun Things Kids Can Read That Aren’t Books

Understood

If reading is a struggle, it can be hard to get your child to sit down with a book. Here are six other things kids can read—and hopefully have some fun too.

Dividing Fractions Using Fraction Strips: An Evidence-Based Math Strategy

Understood

Learning how to divide fractions can be really tough for many kids. Use these printable fraction strips to help students visualize how to divide fractions.

Learning at Home: Advice From Teachers Who Are Parents

Understood

It’s not easy transitioning to distance learning, even for teachers who are parents of school-age kids. Get tips on how to juggle two roles: teaching students remotely while also helping your own kids learn at home.

How to Break Down Communication Barriers Between Teachers and Families

Understood

Building a good relationship between families and schools is important. Get tips on how to break down common barriers that can get in the way.

Pathways to Practice Resources

AIM Institute for Learning & Research

Educators and parents can use AIM’s evidence-based literacy instruction to support children’s reading skills in a remote setting. The “Pathways to Practice” series features videos that explore literacy instruction, enabling teachers and parents to apply the principles as kids learn at home.

How to Break Down Barriers to Learning With UDL

Understood

This article from Understood offers educators practical steps for identifying and reducing their students’ barriers to learning. A downloadable chart outlining Universal Design for Learning principles for breaking down barriers is included.

Classroom Strategies for Comprehension

AdLit.org

Educators can use these “before,” “during,” and “after” strategies as to help students set a purpose, monitor understanding, and discuss and respond to text. Explicit strategy instruction is at the core of good comprehension instruction.

Adapted Physical Education Distance Learning Resources

iLead

Students with disabilities who are doing physical education at home can use these resources. They include calendars of exercises, activity logs, exercise videos, and more.

UFLI Virtual Teaching Resource Hub

University of Florida Literacy Institute

The University of Florida Literacy Institute developed this site to assist teachers as they explore new ways to teach foundational reading skills using technology. This site has tools and lesson templates for reading instruction and intervention with children in the elementary grades.

Behavior Analysis Practice Guidelines

Association of Professional Behavior Analysts

Behavior analysts will find guidance particular to their practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Documents from OSHA, the U.S. Department of Education, and professional organizations are included.

Behavior Analyst Certification Board COVID-19 Updates

Behavior Analyst Certification Board

Registered behavior technicians, ABA providers, and BCBAs can use this compilation of COVID-19 resources from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. It includes information about examination schedules, continuing education, and more.

PACER Center COVID-19 Resouces

PACER Center

Teens and young adults with disabilities and those who work with them can use this compilation of information about career exploration, employment, and vocational rehabilitation. Many of the resources can easily be shared electronically or printed out.

Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills With Children From Infancy to Adolescence

Harvard University

Families and educators can find out what kind of executive function and self-regulation skills are typical at what age in this overview from Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child. Activities for building executive skills are included.

Practical Access Podcast

Drs. Lisa Dieker and Rebecca Hines, University of Central Florida

Teachers, parents, and people with disabilities can get practical, real-world answers for a wide variety of common issues, from time management to online learning in this fun podcast. The hosts, Dr. Lisa Dieker and Dr. Rebecca Hines, are professors at the University of Central Florida in the College of Community Innovation and Education.

Using Playlists to Differentiate Instruction

Cult of Pedagogy

This blog post presents an interesting way for educators to provide student-paced instruction via “playlists.” The strategy may adapt particularly well to virtual instruction.

Teach Me to Talk

Teach Me to Talk

Parents and therapists can find a wide range of speech-language blog posts, podcasts, and videos at this site created by a speech-language pathologist. The online shop also offers DVDs, therapy manuals, and more.

The Communication Matrix Assessment and Community

Communication Matrix

Families and professionals can use this free assessment tool from the Communication Matrix. It helps them easily understand the communication status, progress, and unique needs of anyone functioning at the early stages of communication or using forms of communication other than speaking or writing. Recommended by WestEd.

Managing Severe Challenging Behavior in the Home During the COVID-19 Crisis

Autism New Jersey

Many families with a child who has autism are on their own during the COVID-19 crisis, with little or no day-to-day assistance or guidance. This blog post gives some proactive strategies for managing behavior and ensuring safety.

In-Home Suggestions for Parents During Quarantine

Autism New Jersey

Families of children with autism have diverse needs, concerns, and priorities, and they’re impacted by the COVID-19 crisis in different ways. This blog post offers tips and strategies for modifying the home environment, providing visual supports, and more.

Free Sample Books, From Friends on the Block

Friends on the Block

These free resources are created especially for beginning and struggling readers, including those with dyslexia, learning disabilities, and cognitive disabilities. They can read these books with a teacher, tutor, family member, or peer. Like with all controlled text, it is important to pair with more natural stories for listening activities.

Distance Learning IEP Template

blogsomemoore

Parents can turn IEP goals into home-based activities during distance learning with this template from a leading inclusion expert. The site also has resources to foster inclusion beyond the specific focus of distance learning.

EXAMPLE: Introducing IContinue Learning Plan

iLearn Schools

Administrators, teachers, and case managers in charter schools can use this charter network’s comprehensive COVID-19 plan to get ideas for their own. Plans are included for their special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and members of the child study team.

Teacher Guide to Online Learning

Michigan Virtual

Teachers with limited experience in online and distance learning can use this get-started guide as an overview of best practices. It offers recommendations about technology and tools, supporting diverse learners, plus lessons learned from educators who have taught online.

Teacher Guide to Online Learning

Michigan Virtual

Teachers with limited experience in online and distance learning can use this get-started guide as an overview of best practices. It offers recommendations about technology and tools, supporting diverse learners, plus lessons learned from educators who have taught online.

Sample Virtual IEP Meeting Agenda

Parent Center Hub

IEP team members can use this sample agenda to prepare for their next virtual IEP meeting. Roles, norms, and steps to follow are included.

Sample Virtual Meeting Agenda (Spanish)

Parent Center Hub

IEP team members who speak Spanish can use this sample agenda to prepare for their next virtual IEP meeting. Roles, norms, and steps to follow are included.

Self-Reg Toolkit: 2017–2018 Individual Tools

The Mehrit Center

Adults working with kids on self-regulation skills can find downloadable tools here. A self-regulation rubric, suggestions to reduce stress, and examples of ways to restore energy are included, along with discussion guides and more. The homepage also profiles a video series about self-regulation during COVID.

Support for Kids With ADHD During the Coronavirus Crisis

Child Mind Institute

Kids with ADHD may find remote learning especially challenging. Find out how to support kids who are struggling with being cooped up at home and having a different way of attending school.

Wrightslaw: Resources for Special Education Law

Wrightslaw

Parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys come to Wrightslaw for accurate, reliable information about special education law and advocacy for children with disabilities. Their COVID-19 resources include informations about waivers to rights under the IDEA and Section 504, IEP meetings, and more.

Why and How to Celebrate Your Child’s Focus “Wins” During Distance Learning

Understood

Many kids who struggle with focus have a hard time with distance learning. Learn how celebrating even the smallest focus “wins” can help motivate your child.

Virtual IEP Meeting Tip Sheets

IDEAs That Work

IEP team members can use these tip sheets about the technological aspects of virtual IEP meetings. Q&As cover hosting and participating in meetings, and what to do before, during, and after your meeting.

Virtual Expanded Core Education Learning (ExCEL) Academy for Students With Visual Impairments

Paths to Literacy

Daily webinars and lessons at this site are created for students with visual impairments. Paths to Literacy is collaborating with the American Printing House for the Blind and CalState University to present this programming.

The 4 Digital Learning Tips Every Special Education Teacher Needs to Know

Noodle

Special education teachers as well as general educators can use these best practices for distance learning. Parents will also find tips for supporting digital learning.

Resources for Providing TA During the Pandemic

National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)

Useful, relevant resources from state deaf-blind projects, NCDB, and other sources offer information about providing distance technical assistance (TA) while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find fact sheets, best practices, and more virtual TA ideas.