Autism Society of Alabama implements virtual resource for parents of special needs students
When the pandemic forced everyone to stay at home, many parents of students with special needs sought resources and guidance as they adjusted to their child’s new routine.
The Autism Society created a new resource provided to these parents and their families. The virtual program is called Hands In.
According to Jenny Morris, the development and marketing coordinator of the Autism Society of Alabama, the goal of Hands In is to help parents with special needs youth navigate their new day-to-day schedules. The sessions are led by autism specialists, teachers, and sometimes professors. Each Hands In zoom session covers a specific topic ranging from how to implement activities into a child’s day-time routine, to crash courses on being a special ed teacher at home.
Morris says there were some legal points and questions she wanted to make sure parents didn’t miss out on.
Overall, Hands In is meant to help parents help their special needs child adapt to an unfamiliar routine without regressing.
“Even with neurotypical kids when everybody is at home it was really hard for a lot of people. And then add that to having a special needs child and they don’t understand why they are at home. At first they may think this is really great...I am at home but then all of a sudden it’s the same thing everyday. And so by having things to do and creating some structure it reduced the stress they had and they could predict part of their day,” Morris said.
Since the state has reopened and people are busier than before, the Hands In sessions are now pre-recorded and posted on the Autism Society’s website and YouTube channel.