At-home tools for parents of autistic children

A sudden, nationwide shift to homeschooling presents special challenges for autistic learners. Here are a few ways to support their needs.

When it became clear that the growing threat of the coronavirus pandemic would force her children’s Maryland schools to close, Maggie Haslam recalls a sharp, panicked thought: “What are we going to do?”

Her reaction likely mirrors that of millions of other parents suddenly facing the prospect of some form of schooling at home, while also juggling jobs and other unknowns. But for the Haslams and their 15-year-old son, Drew, the closures presented a special set of concerns. Drew is “smack dab in the middle of the autism spectrum,” Haslam says, and he and his family rely on intensive, targeted, and highly individualized educational support from teachers and therapists at his school.

“There are all these things that we don’t know how to do, that he gets every day, that he won’t be getting in the near future,” Haslam says.