Autism Resources During COVID-19Thursday, April 23 2020
Everyone around the world is facing uncertain and unprecedented times. Changes to almost every part of our lives can be stressful, especially to those with Autism and their families. Fortunately, the internet has many resources to help! We’ve compiled links to resources that help students with learning and adults with working at home, plus health and well being, entertainment, virtually going out, as well as Autism-specific COVID-19 resources.
Last updated: 22 October, 2020
To access more professional medical and health advice during the Coronavirus, please go to the Australian Government Department of Health, the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services, Healthdirect, and the World Health Organisation.
This page will be updated as regularly as possible to provide you with current and relevant resources. You can also follow us on our social media profiles for other updates – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn.
Learning For Life hope for you and your family’s continued health and well being.
You can use the links below to jump to each section:
- Autism during COVID-19
- Learning and education at home for kids
- Your time at home
- Health and mental well being
- Watch and read
- Entertaining the kids
- Going out *virtually*
- Hear from others’ experiences
The Victorian State Government has put together Victoria Together : an online hub to support Victorians through the coronavirus response, connecting us to the state’s best digital and creative experiences and activities. The categories include: music, sport & exercise, mental well being, older Victorians, regional communities, food & drink, film & cinema, arts, exhibitions & design, games, comedy, theatre & dance, science & nature, plus, celebrate our diversity. And there is lots of great content specifically suited for kids.
Autism during COVID-19
Autism Awareness Australia has compiled a great list of resources for all things essential for Autism and COVID-19. There is a video series that addresses common questions, NDIS updates, Centrelink funding, tips on talking to children about Coronavirus, resources for parents, and resources for Autistic adults.
Listen to an expert Q&A interview with Professor Andrew Whitehouse from the Autism Research Team. In this podcast episode, Dr Anne Chalfant and Andrew focus on the associated mental health challenges due to COVID-19 that those with ASD may be experiencing.
ASAT, the Association for Science in Autism Treatment have put together a great article with tools, resources, suggestions and strategies about ‘Coping with COVID-19: An Annotated List of Resources for Families of Individuals with ASD’.
CliniKids have developed some resources to assist people to support their children who have early developmental delays and/or Autism, during COVID-19.
The Queensland Government Department of Education’s Autism Hub has created resources to support families with students with Autism to begin learning at home, as well as resources and activities to harness and support their well being.
Harvard Medical School has written this helpful article ‘Strategies to support teens and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder during COVID-19’.
Visit the NDIS webpage for information and support during Coronavirus.
Monash University‘s article Let’s talk to kids about the second COVID-19 wave and new restrictions, provides suggestions to support families talking about COVID-19 at home, and answers some of the questions teens may ask.
WEBINARS AND SUPPORT GROUPS
Aspergers Victoria holds regular, online Peer Support Meetings, including ones for adults and young adults with Autism, and parents and carers.
Positive Partnerships runs regular webinars to help support families, carers and educators of children on the Autism spectrum, which are free to access. Each webinar runs for an hour nd discusses a range of topics in greater details. All webinars are recorded and can be viewed later, on their Webinar web page, YouTube channel and Vimeo page. Some of their recently held webinars include topics Technology and Online Learning, Communication, Health and Hygiene, Transitions and Change, and Friendships.
Kids’ Learning and Education at Home
🆕 The Australian Childhood Foundation has put together a list of eight free resources for work with children, young people and families.
The Learning from Home resources hub is from the great Sir Ken Robinson. There are resources to help families while educating children at home during the COVID-10 pandemic. There are interviews with families, educators, school leaders, parenting experts and others; curated lists of activities and programs; articles offering insight from around the world.
Khan Academy Kids is a free, fun, educational program designed to inspire young children to become learners for life.
Microsoft and Mojang have released several free (until 30th June) Minecraft Education lessons in an effort to entertain and educate many school kids currently at home.
BreakOutEdu have put together a free collection of digital games that students of all levels can play at home.
Learn With Smithsonian is full of fun (activities and games, plus collections) for kids and teens looking at arts, history and culture, and science and nature.
GridClub is a BAFTA winning learning website for 5-12 year olds. Their goal is to make learning fun with 500+ learning resources and games closely linked to the UK curriculum.
KEEPING KIDS CONNECTED WITH FRIENDS
Here are some helpful tips for parents to keep theirs connected to their friends and peers while social distancing:
Some tips from HCF, by health and wellbeing experts and clinical psychologists; How to keep your kids connected and happy during social distancing.
An article from Monash University, COVID-19: The importance of young children making virtual connections
RESOURCES FOR TEACHING
The Victorian State Government Department of Education and Training has put together some information for parents and carers for kids learning from home. Find advice, tips and resources to help support the child’s continuity of learning.
Autism CRC (world’s first national cooperative research effort focused on autism across the life-span) have launched inclusionED – an online professional learning community, co-designed with educators, for educators. It provides free evidence-based and research-informed teaching practices and tools to support diverse learners in inclusive classrooms.
All Kids Network provides resources for anyone who works with children, with thousands of fund kids activities like kids crafts, worksheets, colouring pages, printable mazes, dot to dot, hidden pictures and more.
The AllPlay Learn Programs online information and courses are free. They focus on strengths-based and evidence-based research to support teachers, educators and other education professionals working with children, young people and families across Victorian early childhood education and care settings, primary schools and secondary schools. Their online resources are easy to download and print.
The Australian Electoral Commission provides teachers with professional learning workshops, classrooms activities and other useful information about the electoral system.
The Kid Should See This is a collection of 4,500+ kid-friendly videos, curated for teachers and parents who want to share smarter, more meaningful media in the classroom and at home. It’s free for everyone and selections are for adults, too. TKSST champions smart STEAM, history, and culture-focused content by museums, organisations, and creators who celebrate curiosity, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, kindness, and other essential themes for all ages.
LANGUAGE AND READING
Wonderopolis poses a daily intriguing question and explores it in a variety ways, including short videos and texts, with vocabulary challenges and comprehension questions.
Kids can learn all about nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions and interjections with Grammaropolis.
Day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking and growing, with Scholastic Learn from Home.
Storybird helps kids boost their writing skills with over 700 challenges created by professional educators and expert authors.
SCIENCE, NATURE AND GEOGRAPHY
It was National Science Week (15 to 23rd August). It’s Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology. Discover some online and real world activities you can experience from home; There’s virtual tours, webcasts, talks, DIY experiments, quizzes, citizen science and competitions.
Museum Victoria Learning at Home is a 10-week learning journey over term 2, exploring their most popular themes and content connecting Science, Humanities and STEM, with activities for all schooling levels.
Keep young minds busy with National Geographic KIDS – they have all things, science, animals, geography and history.
Questacon (The National Science and Technology Centre) has some virtual excursions.
Scienceworks has a couple of resources available – a range family-friendly activities based on exhibitions and collections at Museums Victoria, online jigsaw puzzles with different levels of difficulty, plus, listen to The Fact Detectives: Kinderling Kids Radio, hosts Anika and Dexter go on a mission to find out exciting facts from the experts about the coolest things in their areas of expertise.
Country Reports provides over 35,000 pages of online content on the cultures and countries of the world.
The WhatWasThere Project – type in any city, state, or country to view an archive of historical photographs and other documents from that place. It’s a unique way to help children learn about history.
Climate Kids is a NASA initiative that has games, activities, videos and more, covering a wide range of topics including weather, climate, atmosphere, water, energy, plants and animals.
The Ocean Portal is part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Ocean Initiative and focuses on everything ocean, with the mission to increase the public’s understanding and stewardship of the ocean.
A list of the 19 great science podcasts you can listen to with your kids.
MATHS AND NUMBERS
Bedtime Math helps makes maths become part of every day life for kids to help them love numbers, so they can handle maths in the real world.
313 free maths games for all different levels from Education.com.
Mathsframe.co.uk has more than 200 interactive maths games and 300 maths worksheets and assessments linked to the new curriculum.
ARTS, MAKE & DO, AND SOCIAL STUDIES
🆕 Check out the Boredom Busters challenges from LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre – they’re delivering daily challenges for kids to enjoy at home throughout the school holidays (and home-lockdown). It’s all available for free on their website and Facebook page. Boredom Busters is made up of videos, worksheets and activities to inspire kids to create, have fun and experiment with LEGO®.
NGV Kids and the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (La Trobe University), have collaborated to create a free art-making resource designed to introduce autistic children to art-making activities. Download the worksheet and access the supporting guide for parents and teachers.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art created Met Kids – made for, by and with kids – to get them engaged in the world of art.
Big History Project is a free, online social studies course that emphasises skill development as students draw connections between past, present and future. It helps students develop a framework to organise what they’re learning both in and out of school. This course is for all ages, even through to adults.
The Nomster Recipe Library provides illustrated recipe picture books that get kid chefs excited about cooking.
Red Ted Alert – YouTube videos for when you’re stuck indoors: arts and crafts ideas using basic materials.
Artsology is full of art games for kids, arts education resources for teachers, and much more. The goal is to engage children to introduce them to art and history.
MUSIC AND SONGS
Longtime L4Life supporter Anna, from Music Works Magic, is running interactive, online sessions – there are music, creative movement, and instrumental classes, plus story and listening times.
Virtual Musical Instruments lets kids play instruments (the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums and bongos) and create music online.
Songs for Teaching – Early childhood songs that teach elementary concepts to young (directions, parts of the body, opposites, money, weather, clothing, telling time, adjectives, action and participation and good behaviour).
Chrome Music Lab helps make learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments.
Stars & Catz has many free music education tools and resources (including an online metronome and world-first Music Research Engine), which are also designed to be mobile-friendly.
TECHNOLOGY, CODING, AND STEM
Codecademy is suitable for children who can read and type. Coding is just like learning a new language or studying math.
Scratch is designed for kids to help them learn to code and program their own interactive stories, games, and animations.
Kids can use their time to do some hands-on STEM learning and ‘tinkering’ (making and exploring through learning, trial and improvement). Find out more about tinkering, plus check out some projects you kids can challenge themselves with (in simple electronics, simple machines, engineering and coding).
STEM Learning in the U.K. offers thousands of free-to-access, quality assured resources to support the teach and learning of STEM subjects to all ages.
Explore the world with Virtual Field Trips.org.
Think Design explores careers in fashion design, graphic design, interior design, book design, product design, film and theatre, architecture, animation, and environmental design.
Your Time At Home
The State Library Victoria brings the library to your lounge. There’s stories, programs, collections, online tutorials, and author-talks, items that are perfect for kids, best for book lovers or designed for study-bugs. Plus, their librarians are still on hand to help.
Keep learning wherever you are with FutureLearn; explore online courses to continue studying, build professional skills and connect with experts.
Coursera has hundreds of free courses to give you access to on-demand video lectures, homework exercises, and community forums, taught by top instructors from world-class universities and companies.
Here’s a TED-Ed video to help you with the new things you are learning with your time at home: How To Practice Effectively… For Just About Anything.
Catch up on L4Life’s Autism AbiliTEA Chats – As part of our campaign for Autism Awareness and Appreciation Month in April, our director Mary Muirhead caught up with some people in our awesome L4Life Village, including Cheryl (Autism Researcher), David, Josie and Addie (L4Life parents), and Anna (music teacher).
Start learning a new language or become more fluent in one for free with Duolingo.
Numberphile is full of videos and a podcast featuring mathematicians and other guests from around the world. Topics range from the sublime to the ridiculous, from historic discoveries to latest breakthroughs.
Health and Mental Well Being
LOOKING AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
🆕 The Australian Government has announced that there will be an increase in Medicare-subsidised mental health services. The sessions have been doubled from 10 to 20 per calendar year, and will run for the next two years until 30 June 2022 for in person sessions. For Telehealth and sessions by phone, the additional sessions will last until 31 March 2021. Click here to read more.
Mental Health Australia is the peak not-for-profit organisation representing the mental health sector in Australia, and has a focus on ensuring the whole community recognises the part we all play in creating a mentally healthy society.
Mental Health Victoria is the peak body for mental health services providers in Victoria, specialising in public policy, workforce development and training, and services that build individual, organisational and community capacity.
The Mental Health Foundation Australia is an organisation that works to deepen the understanding of the importance of mental wellbeing. Call the MHFA Helpline on 1300 643 287.
Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25. Call 1800 55 1800 any time.
ReachOut is Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people and their parents. Their practical support, tools and tips help young people get through anything from everyday issues to tough times – and their information makes it easier for parents to help their teenagers, too.
MOST: Moderated Online Social Therapy – recently launched by the Victorian Government, MOST is an online tool for young people, providing them access to tailored online therapy and peer support. It is currently available for clients of Orygen in the North and West of Melbourne, with a state wide roll out progressively continuing this year.
Smiling Mind is a not-for-profit that produces resources for senior secondary students to support their mental health and well being. Students can access counselling via voice calls or video conferences through their headspace counselling partnership or their school-based mental health practitioner. They also have a mobile app, available on the Apps Store and Google Play.
Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14 any time. You can also message with Lifeline Text 0477 13 11 14, 6pm to midnight (AEDT)
You’ll find a lot of digital health resources on Head to Health, a web page from the Australian Government Department of Health.
Beyond Blue have support services for mental well being – there’s information, advice and strategies to help better manage your mental health, plus community forums to connect and support. And you can always talk with their counsellors.
Headspace is a national youth mental health foundation funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. They have information and resources covering a wide range of issues and topics to help young people.
A new website developed by Queensland University of Technology in partnership with Autism CRC and Positive Partnerships is designed for parents, teachers, schools and communities to support well being in teenagers on the Autism Spectrum by cultivating a sense of belonging and the ability to regulate emotions in the face of stress.
Black Dog Institute provides resources for mental health and mental health disorders and online help.
MensLine Australia is a telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns. They’re there to help anywhere, anytime.
Mindfully Me is the new Play School special which aims to equip children and their families with mindfulness techniques to use not just during these trying times, but to carry through their lives.
Cosmic Kids on YouTube has videos for mindfulness, yoga and relaxation for kids.
🆕 Erin, L4Life’s Chief Happiness Officer, has suggested some great mobile apps to help with self-care:
STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY
Mobile Application Sworkit, has some kid-friendly workouts – choose from Strength for Kids, Agility for Kids, Flexibility and Balance for Kids, Warm-Up for Kids, Cooldown for Kids, Stand Up and Move for Kids, or you can create your own kid workout.
A YouTube playlist of workouts for kids at home.
GoNoodle engages kids with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. Available for free and everywhere.
Dancers from Dancing With The Stars Australia upload live videos of dancing classes on Facebook.
Upper and lower back pain develops during the course of day-to-day life. Harvard Medical School’s talks about ‘4 ways to turn good posture into less back pain’.
Especially in these unprecedented times, it’s normal to experience anxiety and sleep problems. Harvard Medical School writes about ‘Strategies to promote better sleep in these uncertain times’.
Harvard Medical School list ‘7 ways to reduce stress and keep blood pressure down during COVID-19’.
Watch and Read
Love on the Spectrum is a beautiful and heartwarming series about love. If you missed this series on ABC TV + iView (or want to watch it again!), it’s now available to watch on Netflix. Love on the Spectrum is a four-part documentary series following young adults on the Autism Spectrum as they explore the unpredictable world of love, dating and relationships.
The Speed Cubers is a 40-minute documentary by Netflix that explores the world of competitive Rubik’s Cube-solving. We get to watch some amazing Rubik’s solving abilities, but what’s more special, is we get to see a beautiful bond between two competitors, Felix and Max. For Max, who has Autism, speed cubing became a way for him to improve his motor skills and develop his social skills.
Recommended by some of our L4Life therapists and supervisors, ‘The Reason I Jump: One Boy’s Voice from the Silence of Autism’ by Naoki Higashida is a remarkable book was written by Naoki when he was only 13. It provides a rare insight into the often baffling behaviour of Autistic children. Using a question and answer format, Naoki explains things like why he talks loudly or repeats the same questions, what causes him to have panic attacks, and why he likes to jump. He also shows the way he things and feels about his world – other people, nature, time and beauty, and himself. Abundantly proving that people with Autism do possess imagination, humour and empathy, he also makes clear how badly they need our compassion, patience nd understanding.
Watch a recently aired episode of ‘You Can’t Ask That’ (ABC TV + iview) – on Autism Spectrum, you’ll meet eight remarkable people on the Autism Spectrum each with unique views and experiences into the world that we rarely, if ever, hear about.
‘Employable Me’ (ABC TV + iview) is an award nominated series that follows six individuals with varying disabilities on their journeys to find a job; highlighting their skills and talents, as they work with experts and job coaches to harness their strengths.
Watch a recently aired episode of Australian Story called ‘Mother and Son’, about Tim Sharp and his mum, Judy. When Tim was three, Judy was told he had severe Autism and should be put in an institution. She refused to write him off, believing he had a place in the world, and nurtured Tim’s gift for drawing and quirky eye for detail. At age 11, he created “Laser Beak Man”, an alter ego superhero character, whose adventures Tim turned into vibrant works of art.
Atypical is a heartfelt comedy that follows Sam, a teenager on the Autism Spectrum, who has decided he is ready for romance. The show also explores the lives of his family (mum, dad and sister). The series is available on Netflix.
Whilst in lockdown, David Favretto and his three boys put together a song, “The Corona Tequila Song”, showcasing their musical and dancing talents. It fits in with our theme for AbiliTEA; abilities and looking at skills people are learning in isolation! One of his sons, Luca, has been a poster boy for L4Life as an Early Intervention graduate.
Lido at Home is a video-on-demand platform brought to you by Classic, Lido and Cameo Cinemas in Melbourne and Ritz Cinemas in Sydney. It allows you watch movies from their carefully curated collections of films from both local and international distributors. They cover everything from new and recent releases to hidden gems from extensive back catalogues, with some premium content that is exclusive to this platform.
🆕 Watch a parody of the book by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek – But Where is the Green Sheep, COVID Edition.
Entertaining the Kids
ABC Kids has everything ABC for the kids! Watch favourites, play games, make arts and crafts, links to apps, listen to programs, plus there’s resources for educators and parents/carers.
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra hosts Jams for Juniors Online throughout April for a sweet, virtual musical ride through classical music. The weekly, 20-minutes sessions will include YouTube videos and online resources to help all kids stay entertained with hands-on music lessons. All resources will stay permanently online. And series two for May will be coming soon.
Audible have released over 30 picture books for children to listen to for free.
Storyline Online streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations.
Disney+ has a range of documentaries to stream that are made for children (subscription is $8.99 per month).
Little Rockers Radio have many programs and topics for kids to listen to, including 5-minute meditations (that are good for adults too!), story times, yoga, music and playtime, plus podcasts for parents and carers. And it’s all free!
This one’s for the adults too! The Harry Potter At Home hub is where you’ll find all the latest magical treats to keep you occupied, including special contributions from Bloomsbury and Scholastic, nifty magical craft videos, fun articles, quizzes, puzzles and plenty more for first-time readers, as well as those already familiar with the wizarding world.
Highlights Kids has a big range of things for kids to fun activities, games, jokes, podcasts & playlists, and learning.
Mo Willems, author of ‘Don’t let the Pigeon Stay up Late’, uploaded 15 drawing lessons on YouTube.
For the kids that love: space Story Time from Space gets astronauts reading children’s books from the International Space Station.
Going Out *Virtually*
Online exhibitions from the Australian War Memorial
NGV virtual tour – Marking Time: Indigenous Art from the NGV
NGV virtual tour: Japanese Modernism
NGV virtual tour: Haring and Basquiat: Crossing Lines
Virtual field trip inside NASA’s Commercial Crew Program for Students
Virtual tour of The Forbidden City in Beijing
Discover some of Banksy’s best street art – download the Banksy Bristol Trail app
The famous Louvre in Paris has seven virtual tours available to visit.
Virtual tour of the British Museum in London, tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosette Stone and Egyptian mummies, plus find hundreds of the museum’s artifacts.
Virtual tour of the Guggenheim Museum in New York – visitors can tour the famous spiral staircase, and discover incredible works of art from the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary eras.
The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. has two online exhibits. The first is an exhibit of American fashion from 1740 to 1895, and the second is a collection of works from Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer.
The Musée d’Orsay in Paris – walk through this popular gallery that houses dozens of famous works from French artists who worked and lived between 1848 and 1914, including Money, Cézanne, and Gauguin, among others.
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, South Korea – Google’s virtual tour takes you through six floors of contemporary art from South Korea and all over the globe.
One of Germany’s largest museums, the Pergamon Museum in Berlin – take a tour of ancient artifacts including the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and the Pergamon Altar.
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, lets you explore the masterworks from the Dutch Gold Age, including Vermeer and Rembrandt.
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam – see the largest collection of artworks by Vincent Van Gogh, including over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and over 750 personal letters.
The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles holds a huge collection of European artworks of paintings, drawings, sculptures, manuscripts and photographs, from as far back as the 8th century.
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy houses the art collection of one of Italy’s most famous families, the de Medicis.
The Museu de Arte de São Paulo is a non-profit and Brazil’s first modern museum. Artworks placed on clear perspex frames make it seem like the artwork is hovering in midair.
The National Museum of Anthropology, in Mexico City, is dedicated to the archaeology and history of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic heritage. Visit 23 exhibit rooms filled with ancient artifacts, including some from the Mayan civilization.
Google Arts & Culture’s collection of museums has thousands of Google Street Views of museums online. They also have an online experience for exploring famous historic and cultural heritage sites.
YouTube has many virtual tours available – Ancient Greece, Tomb of Tutankhamun, Pyramids of Giza, Ancient Rome, the Titanic, the White House, the Great Wall of China. You can try your own searches on YouTube, too.
Hear From Others’ Experiences
Social Distancing Can be Challenging: Autistic people can struggle with spatial awareness, and understanding the correct distance to keep. How does that work in this new era of social distancing?
“When coronavirus forced me to home-school my daughter, learning through play was the answer we both needed.”
A Different Headspace: Six people on being neuro-diverse share what it’s like to live during the COVID-19 crisis.
Australian comedian, writer and director, Lawrence Leung, writes a piece on the reality of parenting during coronavirus isolation ‘Are you a parent struggling to reconcile what you’re reading online with what’s happening in your life?’
Year 10 student Poppy, who is autistic, has thrived while learning remotely and shares how she is not keen to return to the classroom, ‘School ‘refusers’ thriving in remote learning environment’.