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


  • Weeklong FAIR Film Festival 2022

    The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) Hosts a Film Screening Plus Q&A

    The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) will kick off the FAIR Film Festival 2022 with an in-person screening of the documentary film I Am A Victor plus a selection of short films on Sunday, June 12 at 1:00pm EDT at Caveat on the lower east side in Manhattan. read more »
  • Keep kids learning during summer

    3 Fun, Easy Ways

    With school out, summertime brings long, carefree days of play and fun. With a little thought and a few supplies, summer is a perfect opportunity to revitalize their innate love of learning that may be a bit squashed after a year of academic pressures, tests and schedules. read more »
  • Take steps to support literacy

    8 ways to inspire children to read

    Reading is a foundation for learning, yet a vast gap exists in access to books for low-income neighborhoods. read more »
  • Sweeten up summer with a frozen, fruity snack

    Try these easy to make ice pops

    Heading to the freezer for a fruity ice pop can transport you from your own backyard to a tropical island, and the experience can be even more rewarding when the tasty treat is homemade. read more »
  • Clean. Drain. Dry. Every Time!

    Help keep invasive species out of our waters

    One of the most effective ways we can all help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species is by following proper procedures for cleaning, draining, and drying watercraft and equipment every time you leave the water. read more »
  • It pays to give

    5 ideas for investing in the world around you

    In a world fraught with social, political and environmental strife, a mindset that involves a more community-driven approach can make a meaningful difference. Each person’s contributions to improve the earth can send a ripple effect that ultimately transforms communities and the people who live within them. read more »
  • Special gifts to make dad smile

    6 great ideas for the man in your life

    Father’s Day brings a special opportunity each year to celebrate the dad in your life, whether it’s spent lighting a grill in the backyard, heading to the golf course or simply relaxing at home. read more »
  • Grocery store savings hacks

    7 tips to help you slash your bill

    As people continue to eat more meals at home, shoppers everywhere are feeling the pinch of increasing prices on nearly every item at the grocery store. read more »
  • Build friendship skills for back-to-school success

    Focus on your kids' social skills

    When thinking about back-to-school season, most people naturally think of academics. However, it’s just as important to focus on social and emotional skills. read more »
  • Protecting children in a digital age

    8 tips to help keep your kids safe online

    Keeping a watchful eye on your kids requires an increasing level of tech savvy many parents find intimidating. Not only are your kids vulnerable to bad actors online, but your family’s personal information could be at risk, as well. read more »