Doctor offers tips for homeschooling special needs kids

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DENVER (KDVR) — Parents across Colorado are taking on homeschooling amid the Coronavirus outbreak, a task that can be more challenging for those with special needs students.

Dr. Annette Nunez is a psychotherapist and owner of Breakthrough Interventions, a clinic that focuses on helping children with Autism by providing programs that focus on academic, behavioral, cognitive and social support. She says she’s currently working with families trying to adjust to homeschooling.

Nunez says children with Autism often crave routine and there are several ways parents can help them adjust.

“Create a schedule. I recommend parents create a schedule for themselves and also a schedule for their children,” said Nunez.

She recommends structuring your child’s schedule much like a school day, setting a specific time to start and end the academic portion of their day.

Nunez also recommends parents change activities every 45 minutes and build in breaks throughout the day. She says parents can use this time at home to focus on non-academic activities and goals for their child.

“Have goals set for your kids like dressing themselves independently or using utensils when they eat. Schools aren’t focusing on that so now is that time that you can give that extra attention and focus on that,” said Nunez.

Nunez suggests designating a specific learning space in the house.

“That way they have a specific place to go to and they know this is my learning time. And then they know that the other areas of the house can be for break, for eating lunch and dinner,” said Nunez.

She says it’s okay to let kids have screen time throughout the day, but recommends limiting that time to 30 minutes or an hour.

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