The current spread of Covid-19 has resulted in many changes in our daily lives. The Irish Society for Autism understands that this may be a cause of increased anxiety for many Autistic people and their families. Please see some information and resources below that may be of assistance.
Covid-19 Face Mask Card
Some people with Autism may be unable or find it difficult to wear a face mask or covering. As per Government Guidelines, any person who has special needs and who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing a face covering, is not required to wear one. This card may be of assistance to some.
We have 3 different Autism Cards, if you are requesting any one of our Autism Cards, please specify which card you would like and your postal address.
Getting Tested for Covid-19
If you find yourself in the position where you need to be tested for Covid-19, the following videos may help to let you know what to expect.
Things to Consider
- We know that any disruption to normal routines can be distressing, and under the current circumstances we all have to change how we go about our daily activities. Where it is not possible to maintain your usual routine, try to create a home schedule that mirrors or incorporates aspects of your typical day. For example, getting up at the same time as normal, getting dressed and eating breakfast at the usual time, allocate a time-frame for different activities etc.
- For those affected by school closures, it is important to keep in touch with your child’s school/home tutor for advice regarding what their normal day includes, lesson plans, educational resources etc. Although no longer in a classroom setting, there are many options available for students to continue learning remotely. (See additional resources below)
- For those with a family member in a residential service please keep in contact with the service provider for updates relating to any change in procedure regarding your family member’s care, or any change in relation to visiting. Restrictions may be difficult for us all, but the priority must remain the protection of our most vulnerable.
- Social isolation is hard on us all. Although we must maintain social distancing, try to reach out to friends and family over the phone. Parents could try to keep in touch with other parents via online support groups where possible. We are all in this together and we all need support.
- If your ability to work has been affected, please stay in touch with your employer and maintain lines of communication. If needed, you could also contact the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection directly for advice. You can call their Income Support Helpline for COVID-19 on 012481398 or 1890800024.
- Please use caution when seeking information relating to Coronavirus. As Covid-19 is a new virus and the situation is constantly evolving, please consult official sources for information and updates such as:
- The HSE website – https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/
- The Government of Ireland’s website – https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/
- The World Health Organisation – https://www.who.int/
- For young people and children, The Ombudsman for Children – https://www.oco.ie/childrens-rights/coronavirus-information-for-children-and-young-people/
- The Middletown Centre for Autism has a number of online resources relating to Covid-19. They look at topics such as changes to school transport, online learning, wearing a mask and separation anxiety. You can find more details here. They also have a very helpful resource that looks at ‘Managing Change’. The resource addresses issues such as Covid specific fears, returning to shared spaces, and why change can be difficult for some children and young people with Autism. You can find their Managing Change Resource here.
- The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) have also made online resources available to help all children, including children with Special Educational Needs, to prepare for the transition from pre-school to Primary School and the transition back to school. These resources include ‘Starting Primary School during the COVID-19 pandemic’ and ‘Useful Resources to Support Children to Return to School following Covid-19 School Closure’. To view these resources and more, click here.
- The HSE have also produced some helpful videos on their Community Healthcare West YouTube channel, which look at returning to Primary and Secondary schools. The videos look at preparing for transition, organisation skills, self-care, social skills and more. To view their videos, you can find their channel here.
- The Department of Education and Skills have released a list of frequently asked questions called ‘COVID-19: Your questions answered about returning to school’ which may also be of help. The information can be found here.
- The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth have issued advice to parents, which can be seen on gov.ie here.
- The HSE, in collaboration with service providers in the voluntary sector, have produced guidance documents for Disability Services. The documents include Guidance for COVID-19 in Social Care Group Homes and Residential Services, Guidance for testing for COVID-19 in Disability Services, and a Staff Guide on Easy Communication with People with Intellectual Disability or Autism. For the full list of documents, see the HSE Website.
- The National Council for Special Education is providing online resources for children with Special Educational Needs who are at home as a result of the schools’ closure. For more information, see – https://ncse.ie/online-resources
- Middletown Centre for Autism – https://www.middletownautism.com/
- Audible allows you to stream free children’s audio books – https://stories.audible.com/start-listen
- Carol Gray has created a Coronavirus Social Story which may be of help. To view the social story, click here
- The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) – provides information on the curriculum and subjects from Early Childhood up to Senior Cycle.
- RTE’s Home School Hub – https://www.rte.ie/learn/home-school-hub/
- CJ Fallon continue to provide their education resources for Primary and Secondary students free of charge – https://www.cjfallon.ie/
Early Childhood Resources
Early Childhood Ireland – Publications and Resources
Twinkl – Early Years Resources
Primary School resources
Twinkl – https://www.twinkl.ie/
Help My Kid Learn – http://www.helpmykidlearn.ie/
Scoilnet – https://www.scoilnet.ie/
Secondary School Resources
iRevise – https://irevise.com/ie
StudyClix – https://studyclix.ie/
Study Notes – https://studynotes.ie/
Schooldays – Resources for Primary & Post Primary
The National Parents Council (NPC) – NPC exists to ensure that all parents are supported and empowered to become effective partners in their children’s education. NPC covers Early Years & Primary School.
The National Parents Council Post Primary (NPCpp) – The National Parents Council Post Primary (NPCPP) is a voluntary group who work on behalf of parents and young people in post-primary education in Ireland.
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has compiled a list of helpful Teacher Resources & Downloads which can be found here.
Outside the Box
Outside the Box Learning Resources has produced a FREE activity journal, At Home with Weaving Well-being, to help children to enhance their mental well-being through a range of activities. It is most suitable for children aged 8 to 12 years old, but can be adapted for younger or older children. To download a copy of the well-being journal click here.
Lámh is the manual sign system used by children and adults with communication needs in Ireland. For more information on how you can learn Lámh during lockdown, see https://www.lamh.org/learninglamh. Access to Little Lámh, a series of 26 introductory Lámh Signs to help get you started, is available for €2.
- Let’s Play Ireland is a government-led initiative aimed at promoting play for all children living in Ireland during the COVID-19 emergency. Playing is central to children’s physical, mental, social and emotional health and wellbeing. Children learn through play while developing resilience, flexibility and understanding of their world. Play in families enriches childhood. All children and young people have a right to play. The campaign is supported by a web page on Gov.ie which can be found here, and the twitter hashtag #letsplayireland. The initiative intends to provide positive messages to parents about allowing their children to play and supporting a positive environment for this. For more information on the campaign, please go to the website here.
- Dublin Zoo – Dublin Zoo want to continue to deliver fun and educational experiences to the people in Ireland and beyond who are practising social distancing, and have begun a Dublin Zoo Fun activity series. These activities include the Home School Hub at the Zoo, nature activity videos, live web cams of your favourite animals, and virtual tours of Dublin Zoo.
- Irish Museums Association (IMA) – Irish Museums Online – Virtual, 3D, 360-degree online tours, audio tours, online exhibitions, and podcasts from numerous Irish Museums such as the National History Museum, The National Gallery of Ireland, Kilmainham Gaol and many others.
- The Heritage Council – Online Tutorials for Primary School Children such as Wildlife Art for Beginners, How to Build an Insect Hotel, Wildlife Safari and more – http://www.heritageinschools.ie/online-tutorials
- The Craft Corner – Lots of activities via their online videos in the creativity at home section, such as making a bird feeder, creating an optical illusion and how to make an origami dog – https://www.thecraftcorner.ie/creativity-at-home/
- National Geographic Kids – features games, videos, animal sections, brain boosters, weird but true etc. – https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/
- The Science Foundation of Ireland have several ‘STEM at Home’ experiments on their website designed for primary school students, from creating a lava lamp to a magnet race – https://www.sfi.ie/engagement/discover-primary-science-and-maths/resources/stem-at-home/
- WizCase have a very useful list of 20 of the Best Websites to Help Kids Learn From Home in 2021. The sites listed include NASA Kids, TED-Ed, Time Kids, Wonderopolis and many more.
- Odlums – ‘Baking with Kids’, lots of child friendly recipes to make with your kids – https://www.odlums.ie/category/odlums-recipes/baking-with-kids/
- YouTube has free videos available such as kids cookery classes, kids yoga & mindfulness, children’s dance classes and many more.
- Pinterest provides lots of great ideas for arts & crafts options, as well as games.
Mental Health Resources
- HSE Your Mental Health information line – https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/mental-health/yourmentalhealth-information-line.html
- Mental Health Ireland – https://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/
- Turn2Me – Free online counselling and online support groups for people over 18 – https://turn2me.ie/
- My Mind – support for children, adolescents, and adults – https://mymind.org/
- Grow – Grow Mental Health is a charity that provides free, friendly community based, peer support groups for anyone who is experiencing a mental health issue – https://grow.ie/
- Jigsaw – expert advice and support to young people aged 12 – 25 years-old. They also give families, teachers, and those who support young people’s mental health ways to cope and skills to be there for young people – https://jigsaw.ie/