The same challenges and fears that apply to all children during the coronavirus pandemic are heightened in children with disabilities and those requiring special attention. As well as the general anxieties and uncertainties swirling around children, often what is good for the general population of kids is not advantageous to this segment of the populous. While the country collectively tells itself it must strictly adhere to social distancing guidelines, what do we say to those who require daily help in order to go about their daily lives?
Luckily, whether in everyday normal life, or during an unprecedented pandemic, Easterseals South Florida is there to focus on caring and supporting children with disabilities and unique challenges.
It should come as no surprise that Easterseals is at the ready to serve this perpetually underserved group during a pandemic. The organization was first indoctrinated to South Floridians during an epidemic in the 1950s. Back then, the Crippled Children’s Society helped children with therapy and education during a polio epidemic. That group would later be renamed Easterseals. Eventually, it would become Easterseals South Florida.
Today, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the nation and planet, and increasingly affecting Miami-Dade County, Easterseals is back to lend a helping hand to children and families in need.
Like other Miami schools, Easterseals’ Academy and Child Development Center Program has transitioned to remote learning with classes available for typical learners as well as children with special needs. As always, Easterseals emphasizes daily contact with its students, even if that means virtual instead of physical contact. Classes with instructions are given every day, individually or in a group setting. Thanks to a generous local in-kind donation, Easterseals also distributed computers to families that needed them in order to help students access the online schooling from home.
“Our ability to pivot quickly to remote instruction and engagement with our students is one example of how resilient and creative our entire community has become in such a short time,” said Loreen Chant, Easterseals South Florida President & CEO. “The capacity and compassion of our teachers is really shining through for the children. Easterseals’ ability to support our families is bringing comfort and some sense of normalcy during this very challenging time.”
Because many of the children who attended Easterseals classes or schools depended on the meals that were provided – and were in danger of not getting sufficient nutritional substitutes without them – Easterseals South Florida has provided boxed meals for its Head Start families.
But Easterseals has not stopped there. Visit StayHome.Miami, a new website from The Chidlren’s Trust that has partnered with Easterseals to post a variety of videos featuring staff from various programs showing ways for children to keep active and engaged at. Need a daily exercise routine? Easterseals will whip you into shape. Storytime anyone? How about a story being read to you in English or Spanish. Looking for arts and crafts to do with everyday objects that you already have in the home? Again, they have you covered. Or maybe you just need to get in a better mood through dance and song. In that case, check out the video on Music and Movement.
The videos will play directly on the StayHome.Miami site and a link takes you to Easterseals YouTube page with 30+ total videos put together since in the onset of the pandemic.
For more information on Easterseals South Florida’s programs during the coronavirus visit www.easterseals.com/southflorida.