1. Ask for or Request your Accommodations.
This may be the most important thing I talk about in this blog. In public schools, students receive accommodations through a 504 plan or an IEP. For parents whose students still have a 504 plan or an IEP, now is the time to review those plans before the school year begins. In higher learning, universities and community colleges have an ADA office where students set up a meeting and accommodations are given to students. This meeting should be set up a few weeks before the semester starts. Students with disabilities at my community college are responsible for filling out a form with the ADA office every semester to receive accommodations that are on file. At my community college, students are then responsible for giving professors the letter of accommodation on the first day of class. However, due to coronavirus my ADA office has been emailing letters to professors and copying students on the email.
2. Routine, Routine, Routine.
With all the changes due to coronavirus, it is important to have a routine. Some schools are teaching executively online while others are using a hybrid model where students are coming in only on certain days. It doesn't have to be a strict one or where every second of the day is scheduled. Important things to include in a routine: wake time and bedtime, mealtimes (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks), work and/or school, homework, hygiene (showering, brushing teeth, etc.), and chores. Not all of these elements need to be included as everyone's needs are different. If your into technology, putting events into a calendar on your phone is a good idea. There are hundreds of apps that have a calendar function in them as well as scheduling apps for people with disabilities. There is also an app called Tiimo specifically designed for people with disabilities to help with schedules. It can be used across multiple devices. More information can be found here: Tiimo website. Choiceworks is another great app used for scheduling for people with disabilities. Choiceworks allows you to create an unlimited amount of schedules. There is a waiting board for people with disabilities to practice waiting skills. It also includes feelings boards and feelings scales. The user is allow to choose an emotion they are feeling and two coping strategies are shown to pick from. More information can be found here: Choiceworks in the App Store.
3. Get Organized.
This will vary person to person depending on your needs. Some might need a planner or a checklist. Others might need color coded binders, notebooks, and folders. Some might need a tidy desk space. There are also many apps out there that can function as a planner or to help you plan out your assignments. An app I use to help plan out assignments is iStudiez Pro. iStudiez Pro allows you to create multiple types of schedules, input professor's contact information and office hours, keep track of assignments and tests, calendar integration with third party calendar events, export your schedule to share it with others, and to keep track of your grades and GPA. More information can be found here: iStudiez Pro in the App Store.
4. Get Connected.
In this time of coronavirus, it's very easy to get lonely. If you're in high school, look into your school clubs. If none interest you consider starting your own. If you are in higher learning, get connected with your school's student life office. They usually have a list of events scheduled throughout the semester. Student life offices are open to student ideas or starting a club of your own. If you are working, look into your local parks and rec. Many community support groups are now online, including Barrier-Free's monthly Zoom Social Clubs! These social clubs are free to attend and provide opportunities to meet people from all over the world who share some of the struggles you do. Facebook groups, Facebook events, non-profit organizations, and disability are great places to look for social events.
This is an all inclusive resource. It includes visuals, posters, lesson plans, videos, social stories/narratives, sequences, and communication boards with all things needed to know about coronavirus.
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