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Across the world, amidst the coronavirus public health emergency, families are pioneering new approaches to distance learning in an effort to form a foundation for continuing their children’s learning.  For those affected by autism spectrum disorder and other learning disabilities, the challenges of learning in the era of social distancing can be lessened in some ways using digital learning and teletherapy.

Recently, Floreo advisor Dr. Gregory Downing moderated an informal webinar with parents and a child psychologist to share lessons learned, discuss barriers, and celebrate creativity in learning in these uncharted waters.

The distinguished panel included Cheryl Jakobsen, a mother of 3 children with autism, Floreo founder and father of an affected child, Vijay Ravindran, and Dr. Steve Kane, who has maintained his practice using teletherapy exclusively.

The panelists shared personal stories for avoiding the virus, and loss of social interaction compounded the complexities of establishing a learning routine.  The speakers noted that many children are avid users of technology and are creative in using video sessions and chat features to connect with peers. The parents noted that establishing daily routines in lessons, and finding opportunities for physical activity were important features of achieving successful engagement. Each of the panelists spoke to the need for parents to engage in self-care measures to help address stress in the daily routines that now blend the work-at-home, and home schooling challenges.

Audience members suggested best practices from their own experiences: from the uses of software tools, uses of online media, recognition of stress symptoms in children, and self-care modalities. There was a consensus among participants that more innovation is needed in school-based online programs for easier engagement, and more meaningful lesson structures.

To hear more about what other families affected by autism spectrum disorder are learning in the era of social distancing, we encourage you to view the panel discussion here.