Hot Topics     Home and Family     Early Education     K-12     Education Guide    

Help for children with learning disabilities during this pandemic



A parent of a child with disabilities shares strategies

A parent of a child with disabilities shares strategies


As we hear news of several successful Covid-19 vaccines on the horizon, we begin to think even more of “the after times.” The exact date of this “post-Covid-19 era” is still uncertain (a year? 18 months?), but happily, the light at the end of the tunnel does flicker brighter.

The people who will be remembered for rising to the challenges to help others – particularly the learning disabled – are in the thick of it now

They’re not getting too caught up in thoughts of “the after times,” because they are too busy, doing the day-in, day-out, labor intensive work. Popsugar writer and mom Sarah Muoio, whose son is learning-disabled, is one of those people. Her adjustments in this unprecedented time are more extensive than most.

Her son is a 4-year brain tumor and stroke survivor who currently battles epilepsy and partial paralysis of the entire right side of his body. He is an avid, energetic learner. 

Muoio opted to take him out of school, in large part due to his medical condition, which makes him a high risk kid. Nevertheless, they are getting it done, learning as they go, like all of us. And, as with many helpers, Muoio is eager to share resources that have helped her help her son. Her operative word is proactive.

READ MORE: 10 resource links for parents of children with special needs

She writes: “Using a proactive approach helps guide [my son] through this new way of learning. By showing up prepared with the tools that help him learn best, we've already overcome half the distance learning battle with a student who struggles with a disability.”

One of her strategies is to enlist a behavioral therapist to help her son deal with the feelings of sadness, disappointment, and loneliness he experiences when, via zoom, he sees the kids in his class together in school. As she puts it, the therapist helps him “dissect what he's feeling and identify ways to overcome those feelings, emotional coping strategies that are vital to his success.”

The most imminently do-able tactic Muoio offers is “an organized, dedicated workplace.” After going with the flow in the early days of lockdown last spring, she and her husband got to work. 

“We spruced up our basement to make him a dedicated workspace where he could find success,” she writes. “We gave the room a fresh coat of paint, picking a pale yellow to boost his mood and a calming gray to keep him grounded. 

We set up a work desk in front of a mounted TV that hooks up to his Chromebook, preventing him from straining his eyes on long days in front of the computer. Finally, we added a calming corner where he could read, take a break, or just sit and relax if he's having a rough time.” She maintains this in particular has been “a game-changer.”

Muoio also stresses flexibility and patience. 

Now, with some perspective, she looks back and sees how knowing when to push, when to ease up, and when to let go are key to everyone’s well being. These different responses were unknowable last spring. Like all of us, she’s learned a lot since then. And lucky for us, she’s eager to share.



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • View eagles in Mongaup

    Mongaup Valley Wildlife Management Area designated a Bird Conservation Area

    Mongaup was designated a Bird Conservation Area because of its unique combination of habitats important to bird species. read more »
  • Hike Smart & Be Prepared

    Safety tips for getting out in the winter months

    NYS DEC offers tips to keep you and your family safe while enjoying the outdoors this winter. read more »
  • Hudson Highlands Nature Museum’s Homeschool Naturalist Program

    Adventure Awaits Students Ages 6-9

    The Hudson Highlands Nature Museum’s Homeschool Naturalist Program for children ages 6-9 has quickly become one of the Nature Museum’s most beloved programs. Originally created out of the needs of families undertaking distance/learning, the program has proved so popular it has remained in place by demand. read more »
  • 5 ways parents can get prepared for student loan repayments

    Tips to help you survive student loan payments

    If you’re a parent who took out a federal student loan for your child and you’ve been taking advantage of the payment freeze as part of the COVID-19 emergency relief, then things are about to change. Starting January 31, 2022, payments will resume and no further extensions are expected. read more »
  • STEAM learning toys for your little ones

    Young kids have fun while learning letters and numbers

    Edx Education teaches letters and numbers through hands-on play read more »
  • DCP offers tips to help New Yorkers stay safe and warm

    NYS Division of Consumer Protection warns New Yorkers of carbon monoxide and fire hazards during extreme cold weather

    The New York State Division of Consumer Protection today issued a consumer alert about the dangers of carbon monoxide and fire hazards in extreme cold weather. The winter months pose the most risk for these hazards—as the temperatures drop, consumers may turn to dangerous heating alternatives to stay warm. Propane heaters, generators, space heaters and/or outdoor grills all pose lethal risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire hazards when used improperly. read more »
  • New gardening series with Newburgh Free Library

    Learn about herbs, microgreens, seeds, planning and planting

    Newburgh Free Library has a new gardening series starting with NUFFI, or Newburgh Urban Farm and Food, starting in February! read more »
  • Get up to 4 free at-home Covid-19 tests for your family

    The Biden Administration to Begin Distributing At-Home, Rapid COVID-19 Tests

    The Biden Administration is Buying One Billion Tests to Give to Americans for Free; Online Ordering of a Half-Billion Tests Begins on January 19th; Builds on Significant Actions to Expand Testing Capacity and Increase Access to Free Testing read more »
  • New York’s Going Foam Free in 2022

    NYS is working to keep our environment safe

    In 2020, New York State adopted the nation's strongest statewide ban of expanded polystyrene, single-use foam food and beverage containers, and polystyrene loose fill packaging materials, commonly known as packing peanuts. read more »
  • Sherman Artists Open Studio – This Weekend!

    Painters, photographers, mixed media, jewelers, fused glass, and fabric artists will open their home studios

    This weekend is the very first Sherman Artists First Open Studio! Fifteen local Sherman artists are participating in the Sherman Open Studio Tour on Saturday and Sunday, December 4th and 5th, 2021, 10 am – 4 pm. Painters, photographers, mixed media, jewelers, fused glass, and fabric artists will open their home studios or participate in pop-up studios read more »