Resources (And a Pep Talk) for Distance Learning - Joubert Syndrome & Related Disorders Foundation
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By Ayah Young

To put it mildly, I’m finding life during the coronavirus pandemic to be overwhelming. Not only do we have to limit our contact with the outside world, keep a well stocked kitchen, and sanitize everything, but as parents we’ve suddenly become educators charged with keeping our kids’ academic lives on track. To further complicate matters, as remote learning plans forge full steam ahead, parents of kids with IEPs are trying to figure out not only how to be homeschool teachers, but also how to adapt curricula to help make them accessible for our unique learners. Some of us are also trying to figure out how to fill the void created by the sudden lack of in-person occupational, physical, and speech therapy sessions. It’s a lot to take in, and even more to feel responsible for.

I’m just going to come right out and say it: The majority of us aren’t going to do a great job of being both teachers and therapists for the rest of the school year – and that’s okay. Many of us wouldn’t be good at those jobs under the best of circumstances. Throw in variables like having to work from home, caring for multiple children, worrying about our elders, and doing it all while enduring a continual stream of alarming pandemic news, and it’s an almost laughable endeavor. But that doesn’t mean that most of us won’t try to make it work anyway. We love our kids that much!

Before I share a list of resources that have been helping me support my elementary school-aged child with Joubert Syndrome, I feel like I need to make a disclaimer: However you approach this distance learning situation, be gentle with yourself. At the end of the day if your child is fed and feels safe, I encourage you to call that day a win – even if tears (yours or your child’s) have been shed and no official learning has taken place. Tomorrow will be another day.

With that said, here are some things that have helped me keep my son’s mind active these past few weeks – maybe they will help you too.
Learning at home.

Special Education Resources 

Learning Websites

  • BrainPop Jr (K-3) / BrainPop
    A trusted learning resource supporting core and supplemental subjects, reaching millions of learners worldwide.
  • The Kids Should See This
    A collection of 4,300+ kid-friendly videos, curated for teachers and parents who want to share smarter, more meaningful media in the classroom and at home.
  • Storyline Online
    Stories read aloud. Each book includes supplemental curriculum developed by a credentialed elementary educator, aiming to strengthen comprehension and verbal and written skills for English-language learners.
  • Readworks
    Reading comprehension instruction that works. ReadWorks is driven by cognitive science research.
  • Scholastic Learn at Home
    Day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing, sortable by grade level.
  • Story Time from Space
    A read-along series where astronauts read popular children’s books on video.
  • BBC Earth
    Lots of multimedia science content.
  • National Geographic Kids
    Chock-full of fun videos, games, and information about animals and nature.


  • GoNoodle Movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. Available for free at school, home, and everywhere kids are!
  • Cosmic Kids Yoga


  • News-2-You
    The weekly newspaper for beginning readers and special needs students.
  • Epic
    Kids books and videos.
  • Khan Academy
    Provides educational videos and activities for kids aged 2 to 7.

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