The governor has announced that school is closed through May 20, 2020 and the Commissioner of Education made clear that closure through the end of the school year is possible. It’s April 14, 2020 and most schools have been closed since March 16. This means parents have been stepping up to the plate to educate their children at home for almost three weeks. It’s hard for adults to imagine continuation of “distance learning” for 6 or more weeks. For kids, that concept is even more difficult to grasp. On top of that, it can be difficult to talk to kids about why they are staying home without scaring them. If you’re struggling about talking to your children about the coronavirus, see this NPR story, that features a comic exploring the new coronavirus just for kids.
During this time children are dealing with significant changes to their daily life. They may be worried or anxious, especially if they already have a mental health diagnosis. Here are some mental health resources published by the National Alliance on Mental Illness to help you and your children cope:
The National Institute of Health also has many helpful resources, including this article about talking with talking with children about coronavirus. For talking to younger children, check out this online book, “Gizmo’s Pawesome Guide to Mental Health.”
Children yearn for the social interaction and, for many kids, school is their main source of social interaction. It is important to remember that while social distancing is important, it does not have to mean social isolation. Here are some resources to help parents and children deal with social distancing:
Many parents are struggling to keep children with have significant disabilities engaged. Their structured school program is no longer and specialized services are either not being provided, being minimally provided, or being provided through video conferencing. These are extraordinary changes and challenges for children with significant disabilities and their parents. Thankfully, many organizations have taken to providing events, services and webinars on the internet. Planning Across the Spectrum has filled their calendar with online events for the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community. The National Council on Severe Autism has also been holding free weekly “Share & Care” interactive online webinars for parents and families facing hardship during the coronavirus pandemic. Each webinar is recorded, and all referenced resources are published on their blog. See the blog page to register for additional upcoming webinars.
- The Connecticut chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness offers more than 70 FREE, confidential support groups across the state. Because of the current coronavirus pandemic, they are now offering many of their support groups by video conference and conference call. Click here to find a support group that is right for you, your child or even both of you.
- TurningPoint.org was developed by teens and young adults in Connecticut to guide young people in their search for mental wellness. The website features peer support and advice through questions & answers, a discussion forum, personal stories, and videos.
- For more information on school closures and special education due to COVID-19, see our previously published blog posts: