Since last March, the way education takes place in the U.S. (and much of the world) has changed dramatically due to COVID-19. Overnight, schools and colleges/universities had to pivot to online learning as a safer way to deliver instruction. Parents of school-aged children had to scramble to find day care or to balance their at-home work hours with the new need to supervise their children’s e-learning. Teachers and college faculty had to quickly ramp up with new tools for teaching in virtual environments that, at times, has been blended with in-person learning. College students have often had to move home, or chose to stay at home, due to safety concerns and residential hall closings on their campus. These sudden shifts have created complicated scenarios that challenge families to redesign living arrangements while adult children are suddenly attending college under the same roof their parents live and work in.
All of these shifts can be further complicated for individuals with disabilities such as specific learning disabilities, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and those living with high levels of anxiety or depression. Indeed, the pandemic has triggered sharp rises in student mental health issues over the past nine months. Thankfully, talented educators, researchers and other leaders are providing helpful information to students and parents to help them adjust to all of these changes. The following resources are recommended and may help you identify new approaches that can foster greater resilience and peace of mind.
Keeping Students with Dyslexia Engaged in Virtual Learning: Students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia may find it even more challenging than other students to do all of their learning online. This delivery method demands sustained focus to on-screen information that is harder to interact with physically than paper-based reading materials. The need to scroll up and down, toggle from one webpage to another, and simply sit in a chair for a lengthy period can trigger the executive functioning difficulties that many students with LD and ADHD experience. Read this article for tips and strategies.
Parents of students with ADHD may have a new appreciation for teachers’ ability to keep students engage in classroom learning when their children are now at home, trying to keep up with e-learning. Several articles describe helpful approaches. Examples include: ·
- ADHD: Tips for Online Learning
- How to Help Children with ADHD Thrive in a Virtual Schoolhouse
- 5 Ways to Support Kids with ADHD During Remote Learning
Planning for Academic Success: College Goal Setting: The STEPP Program helps college-bound students and their parents work together to create goals the student can pursue in college. These strategies can also apply to current college students who may be struggling to keep up with their goals due to the many challenges created by COVID. Read more here.
Adjusting to Moving Back Home Due to COVID-19: Like a growing number of campuses, North Carolina State University has an Office of Parents and Families Services designed to help parents navigate appropriate shifts in roles as their adult children pursue a college education. This article provides tips for parents and college-age children alike who are suddenly back together under the same roof.
Free or Low Cost Assistive Technology for Everyone: Many bright students with learning or attentional differences encounter increased learning challenges in online environments. A new national study, for example, reported a sharp increase in college students with LD who requested accommodations in Spring 2020. For the first time, the pandemic may be creating (or exacerbating) a student’s need for assistive technology (AT) that makes reading, notetaking, listening, and staying organized easier. Augsburg College has created a webpage that helps students and families identify a range of AT tools, many of which are free. These resources can also be extremely helpful for students in middle school and high school, too.