As Schools Close to Coronavirus, Special Educators Turn to Tele-Therapy

[Source: Education Week]

As students with learning disabilities enter distance learning environments, a tangled patchwork of state regulations, a lack of therapist training, and limited access to high-speed internet threatens to limit their access to key services that help them speak, move, and acquire skills for daily living.

The sudden shift to online learning going on across the country to tamp down the spread of the coronavirus will, at best, place new burdens on children with disabilities and their families—and, at worst, lead to extended disruptions in services such as speech, occupational, and physical therapy.

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SLP Corner: 10 Ways Children With Language Disorders Can Maintain Both Physical Distance and Social Connection

[Source: The ASHA Leader Blog]

Social distancing—or more accurately, physical distancing—is now our way of life. As difficult as it is, it’s our new normal, at least for the short term Even with physical distance, we find ways to connect socially. We call or use video chats to stay in touch with friends and family, email jokes or stories, and post on social media. Other community activities continue virtually: worship services, fitness classes, concerts, and more. We discover ways to maintain social distance without losing social connections.

Children with language disorders, however, find social interactions challenging in the best of times. So physical distancing can potentially aggravate their communication issues. They won’t have as many chances to practice social communication skills with a range of communication partners in a variety of school and community settings. Physical distance, though, doesn’t have to mean social distance—even for children with language disorders.

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It’s Autism Awareness Month! Let’s Celebrate Neurodiversity, Even if It’s Virtually!

Its April.   That means its Autism Awareness Month.  Tomorrow, April 2nd, is World Autism Day.

Unfortunately, our skies and windows won’t be lit up nearly as blue this year.  From coast to coast and sea to sea, people are sheltered at home, while we navigate this “thing called COVID-19.

And just as tens of thousands of other events have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely, the annual celebration of neurodiversity as it presents as Autism has been bumped out of newspapers, social media and news feeds.

Well, for those of you passionate about autism, we at PediaStaff have found a few ways you can still celebrate and participate in Autism Awareness Day and Month – even from home:

Wear Blue!
And Post a Selfie to Social Media with the Hashtag #worldautismawarenessday

Add Your Voice to the Gigantic Autism Billboard
Imagine you could have a gigantic billboard upon which you could share just one statement with the world, metaphorically “distilling” your lived autistic experiences into a nugget of wisdom that could impact others.   The campaign, led by, will continue throughout the month of April, and drawn wonderful and diverse responses that highlight the far-reaching effects of neurodiversity. Just visit the online Virtual Billboard at We The Parents, and add your entry in the comments of the blog post.

‘Fancy Nancy,’ ‘Sesame Street’ To Air Autism-Themed Episodes” 
A pair of children’s television shows are set to highlight the experiences of those with autism.  The Disney Junior series “Fancy Nancy” and HBO’s “Sesame Street” will both air episodes this week centered around characters with the developmental disorder.  The shows come as part of a broad annual effort to increase autism awareness during the month of April.

Participate in a Virtual Walk for Autism
Follow the Google Search link above to find a Virtual Run/Walk near (or not near!) you!

Attend the Autism Awareness Online Concert w/ Brady Rymer!
Brady and the Band have teamed up with Celebrate the Children School to host a Virtual Facebook LIVE Concert! Join Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could on Thursday, April 2 at 11am as we Light It Up Blue to Celebrate World Autism Awareness Day! You can put in requests and send questions and shout-outs to Brady and Friends LIVE throughout the show! So put on your favorite blue outfit and get ready to rock for Autism!

Virtual Blow Bubbles for Autism
Each year, during the month of April, the Dennis Township School District hosts Blow Bubbles for Autism. Unfortunately due to school closure, we are unable to hold this event at our schools so we are encouraging families to hold their own bubble blowing event at home or in the backyard. The Dennis Township School District Facebook page will post a space for families to share their pics as well as their signs saying “I blow bubbles because….”Please join us in celebrating World Autism Day.


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School Psych Corner: How to Teach Social-Emotional Learning When Students Aren’t in School

[Source:  Education Week]

Tens of millions of students are dealing with massive upheaval to their educations and daily lives with their schools shuttered indefinitely to thwart the spread of the coronavirus.

Add to that fears over a pandemic that could sicken them or loved ones, students now more than ever need strong coping skills to adjust to this new reality that will likely, for many, extend through the end of the school year and beyond.

But should social-emotional learning really be a focus for educators right now as they scramble to figure out how to teach their classes remotely?

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Students Deprived Of Crucial Special Ed Services Due To Closures

[Source: The Los Angeles Times]

Nine-year-old Trevor de la Torre was home with a migraine when his parents got word that his school was closing in response to the coronavirus emergency — and his critically needed hands-on therapies would effectively stop, too.

His one-on-one reading specialist, gone. His speech therapy, gone. His occupational therapist who is teaching him how to write letters, gone. His one-on-one classroom aide is no longer by his side to help him understand assignments and break down lessons into more manageable parts.

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