Tools for School during COVID: September 2020

Wow, back-to-school has never been like this.  Educational Advocates, Special Needs Attorneys, School Staff/Administration, and Parents are all navigating brand new territory when it comes to appropriately educating and accommodating children with IEPs and therapy needs.  Thank you to the members of the C.I.T.Y. of Support community who provided links to websites/resources/videos that can help us all better advocate for our children.  By compiling all of this information in one Collaborative Blog Post, we hope to make it easier to access.

**Please note, C.I.T.Y. of Support does not endorse any of these specific resources or recommendations.  Rather, we provide them to our members as helpful tools, as submitted by parents and professionals in our community.**

Free IEP Checklist

"Are you concerned about Back to School and the IEP?   Download the Free IEP Checklist that will provide you a list of questions that many families have used and it has been successful.  This list will guide you to ensure that you are prepared for the next IEP meeting and take control of the IEP meeting.  You are your child's voice and you know them the best.  Never Stop Advocating for your child!"      

Wanda Malone- Special Needs Mom and Bilingual (English/Spanish) IEP Coach/Advocate.

You are the Expert at the IEP Table, Parent Input Statements

"So many parents don't even know this is part of the IEP, learn how to make an impact on your next IEP meeting."  

Nicole Schlechter, Autism/ADHD Mom and Advocate  

Free Videos for Parents to Advocate for their Children's Rights

"The videos on our YouTube channel address multiple topics that parents NEED TO KNOW to effectively advocate for their children with disabilities."

Particularly relevant videos during COVID:

New Rules: Special Education During & After COVID-19

Special Education Rights & Resources During COVID-19

Parents' Rights to Meaningful Participation in Special Education

Sabrina Shafer,  Special Education Attorney

Distance Learning for Fall: Helping Students with Learning Differences

"Parents had a lot of questions/concerns about distance learning for the fall, so I collaborated with Pepi Silverman to answer some of their questions and provide guidance."

Angela Molloy, Community Member/Executive Functioning Coach

Critical IEP Decisions for Remote Learning

Catherine Whitcher, M.Ed.'s podcast will address many questions for anyone involved in the IEP process, especially during this unprecedented time.  There are also several more podcasts available on her website that provide additional information and guidance.

Orenza Jaske, Parent

Social Story: Understanding Coronvirus

"For our kiddos who struggle with understanding change or worrying about things around them, social stories can be a really effective tool to help explain the world in a kid friendly way."

Nicole Schlechter, Autism/ADHD Mom and Advocate  

Teachers Pay Teachers

"Real teachers post original content - curricula, educational games, homework pages, etc. -  for purchase on this website at low, reasonable prices. No one knows students better than teachers, and this is a quick easy way to get quality, creative educational resources for kids AND support individual teachers with each purchase."  

Molly Jenkins, Parent

Stay at Home School Day Schedule

"Whether it’s spring break, summer time or this crazy quarantine, we need to be prepared to support our child’s education at home.  We know children thrive on schedule and routine, but it can be tricky to figure out what works for you! I’ve taken the guess work out of the schedule.  In this (FREE) bundle you will be receiving a daily schedule complete with movement breaks, sandwiched preferred and non preferred activities to keep your kiddos motivated and yes… screen time (but it’s minimal!)."

Nicole Schlechter, Autism/ADHD Mom and Advocate    

Walk Through Your Day Time Banner

"Remote learning can feel chaotic for many kids. To add structure to their day, I love Cognitive Connections "Walk Through Your Day" Time Banner. Lay it on the floor and allow your kids to physically walk through their daily schedule."  

Erin Vollmer, Speech-Language Pathologist

Go Noodle

"This website and/or AppleTV app is every teacher's secret weapon and now has a free family version for home. It provides tons of guided videos for fun and easy activities for kids to engage their brains and bodies via songs and dances, brain buster activities, yoga, meditation, etc. Many teachers use it for indoor recess time and/or short “brain breaks” between difficult lessons."

Molly Jenkins, Parent

Request for Remote Learning Plan Sample Letter

"If your district has not offered to add a remote plan, or has attempted to change the current IEP, a remote learning plan added will create a written plan for what school and services will look like remotely."

Nicole Schlechter, Autism/ADHD Mom and Advocate    

Coping Tools for COVID Crisis

"The team at Dynamic Lynks has an interactive workbook to help build coping tools and self-regulation strategies in school-aged children, tweens, and teens. Created by board-certified music therapists, each workbook activity has an accompanying original song!"  

Alyssa Wilkins, Music Therapist

*Financial Disclosure that this resource is not free.  It was suggested by and is affiliated with Dynamic Lynks.*

Challenging Behavior at School

"I’ve created a 4 part series on behavior at school (less than an hour!) just for you, so that when we return to the classroom, you understand the process of how schools handle behavior and what you can do to support your child. After this series you will know:  What to ask for when your child is struggling with behavior; How school handles behavior; What the FBA should be identifying; How to dissect your child’s BIP so that it supports their unique needs; Classroom strategies that don’t include a clip chart!"

Nicole Schlechter, Autism/ADHD Mom and Advocate  

*Financial Disclosure that this resource is not free.  It was suggested by and is affiliated with Nicole Schlechter Advocacy*

Three Insights Not To Be Missed From Quarantine 2020

"Hope is that emotion that carries us through the challenges and brings us out to the other side. If you allow yourself to learn from this experience, your hope will be increased as you begin to see the long term value. It will be an anchor that will help you be balanced, now and in the future."

Joy T. Henderson, Clinical Counseling Intern

Thrift Books

"One thing your remote learning environment doesn’t have that a classroom does is an extensive classroom library of books of multiple levels and genres. Thrift books is what it sounds like - and online second-hand bookstore so you can stock your child’s library on the cheap."

Molly Jenkins, Parent


"Starfall provides free educational games online for grades Pre-K through 3 as well as read-aloud stories in the “Talking Library” section."  

Molly Jenkins, Parent

Exceptional Advocacy-Free Case Consultation

"By filling out an information request, parents receive a free 30 minute consultation regarding the issues in their child's case including expert direction on next steps from an experienced special education advocate."

Judy Ruffulo,  Educational Consultant and Advocate  

Brain Breaks

"We all need a break and I think we really need to make sure our kids are getting a break too! These 20, 3 -minute brain breaks are great for E -learning, a way to start or end your day, and encourages kids to move! Movement is so important for learning. They also have some great digital versions for those doing teletherapy or E-learning. These ideas also can accommodate individual clients, classrooms, or a family activity!"  

Lainey Baron,  Speech Therapist/Clinical Coordinator

Scholastic Book Wizard

"If your child’s school or teacher has shared your child’s reading level with you, you can use this website to find appropriate books at their level. You can search for books by genre, title, interest, author (e.g. “fantasy” or “big cats” etc.) then filter your search by reading level either by Lexile (often found on standardized tests), Guided Reading level (A, B, C...) or grade level."

Molly Jenkins, Parent

Storyline Online Free Read-Alouds by Actors

"This website provides free read alouds of books of various levels to watch on any device."

Molly Jenkins, Parent

IEP Assessment

"This assessment includes a 30-minute consultation where we identify your parent or teacher goals and concerns, prioritize of accommodations (even during remote learning), provide a complete review of the IEP, demonstrate the exact special education language you need to use, and include at least 3 specific things you can add or change in the IEP to maximize progress."

Nicole Schlechter, Autism/ADHD Mom and Advocate  

*Financial Disclosure that this resource is not free.  It was suggested by and is affiliated with Nicole Schlechter Advocacy*

When Was The Last Time You Took A Mental Break?

"We spend so much time addressing life from our anxious place in our minds. Whether we realize it or not,  we catastrophize much easier in these moments. How about considering practicing or scheduling time for these mental breaks to create space from these ruminating and stressful thoughts?"

Joy T. Henderson, Clinical Counseling Intern