The coronavirus pandemic impacts everyone. But it creates added challenges for some people. That includes kids and adults with learning differences or disabilities. We’ve created this COVID-19 resource to help people who learn and think differently thrive at home, at school, and at work.
We’ll be providing updates on issues that impact learning, special education, talking with kids, and working from home. So keep checking back.
To stay informed on the health aspects of the virus, you can get updates at the Centers for Disease Control website. Your state health department and school district may be other good resources. So is the American Academy of Pediatrics.
How to talk about the coronavirus with kids
It’s natural for kids to have questions and concerns about the coronavirus. But kids who learn and think differently may have challenges that make it harder to understand or cope with this health crisis. Get tips for talking about the coronavirus with kids.
Here’s how to handle specific issues that may come up:
School closings and distance learning
Many schools are closed for the rest of the year, and families and educators are looking for ways to make the most of distance learning. Understood remains focused on supporting the 1 in 5 who learn and think differently. But with so many students struggling to adjust, Understood’s Amanda Morin points out that every child is the 1 in 5 right now.
The following are especially geared toward educators:
- 5 reasons kids aren’t engaging in distance learning
- Distance learning: What teachers are going to keep doing
- How I reached students who disappeared during distance learning
- A letter to my students: Let’s celebrate your growth
- Leading remote IEP meetings
- Co-teaching during distance learning
- UDL best practices for distance learning
- Tips for creating online assignments
- Connecting with students: Teachers share their strategies
- Notes from a first-time distance learning teacher
- Providing speech teletherapy: How I’m getting ready
These resources can help teachers support emotional health during distance learning:
- SEL printables for your students’ families
- Practicing self-care during the coronavirus: 5 tips for teachers
- How I’m navigating the coronavirus as an educator with anxiety
- How to support students emotionally and socially during distance learning
- Juggling act: Teaching from home while parenting
- Dear teachers: You are also essential
At-home activities, schedules, and more
If kids have to stay home or activities are canceled because of the virus, it can be hard to find ways to keep them busy.
How families are coping
Families have been through so many changes these past few months. Learning from home. Working from home. New routines or maybe no routines. Explore stories about how families are coping.
- When I’m going to worry about the “COVID slide” (NEW)
- Build and celebrate your child’s skills at home
- My kid’s math homework almost broke me
- Distance learning has been a plus for some kids
- Changing expectations about my child’s focus
- Online learning’s upsides for my not-so-typical child
- Coronavirus anxiety: I’m trying not to pass it along to my kids
- My 5 parenting tips for letting go and getting through this
- My kids learning at home doesn’t mean I’m homeschooling
- My IEP just ended, and now I’m missing my senior year
- How my cooped-up teens are coping with the new normal
New community groups and partner sites
Understood just launched two new communities. Privacy settings for the groups mean that only members can see who’s in the group and what they post.
- Support for Understood Families: Connect on Facebook with families like yours who understand what it’s like to learn and think differently.
- COVID-19 Resources & Support: Connect on Understood and get your questions answered by families like yours and by our team of experts.
Understood is also proud to partner with three new coalition sites that are providing free resources to help transition to online and at-home learning:
- Educating All Learners (for teachers whose students have IEPs)
- Learning Keeps Going (for families and teachers)
- WideOpenSchool.org (for families and teachers; curated by Understood founding partner Common Sense Media)
Disability issues at work
The current health crisis may raise workplace questions when it comes to employees with disabilities.
The following are especially geared toward employees and job seekers:
The following are especially geared toward employers:
- Making good business decisions in stressful times
- How to write a work-from-home policy
- FAQs: How will the hiring process change due to COVID-19?
- Hiring now? Disability employment services can help
- FAQs: Coronavirus, disabilities, and the workplace
- 5 concerns workers with disabilities may have about COVID-19
- 5 ways to support your employees during this stressful time
- 5 tips: Checking in with employees during the pandemic
- 4 tips and tools to help your team manage coronavirus anxiety
- How — and why — to start transcribing your team’s video calls
Coronavirus news and tools: Weekly roundups
See the weekly roundups of coronavirus news and free resources we put together during the first month of school closures.
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About the author
About the author
The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.
Amanda Morin is the director of thought leadership at Understood and author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.” She worked as a classroom teacher and early intervention specialist for more than a decade.