The Family Support Program at the UNC School of Social Work promotes and provides support for families with children who have special needs and disabilities across North Carolina. Social, emotional, and informational support is a crucial need of families, particularly now with the impacts of COVID-19. Several resources for families and service providers are compiled below, and this resource will be updated regularly.
Information directed toward people with disabilities
The Self-Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC) has released a plain-language information packet on COVID-19, created in collaboration with people who have disabilities. The document explains symptoms, staying healthy, what to do if sick, how to practice social distancing, and more - https://selfadvocacyinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Plain-Language-Information-on-Coronavirus.pdf. This document is also available en español - https://selfadvocacyinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Spanish-Plain-Language-Information-on-Coronavirus.pdf.
New Mobility Magazine has created a list of disability-specific recommendations for COVID-19 - https://www.newmobility.com/2020/03/disability-specific-recommendations-for-covid-19/.
The Shepherd Center, a hospital for spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation in Atlanta, Georgia, has published a guide to COVID-19 for people with spinal cord and brain injury related disabilities - https://news.shepherd.org/qa-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/?_ga=2.49589478.1314721981.1583416882-868935734.1522794814.
The Center for Disability Rights offers action steps for people with disabilities who use personal care attendants who may be affected by COVID-19 - http://cdrnys.org/blog/programs-services/action-steps-for-attendant-service-users-in-response-to-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/.
The Autism Society of North Carolina has created a webpage with resources related to COVID-19, such as mental health support, food, housing, and employment assistance; Medicaid updates, and more. - https://www.autismsociety-nc.org/coronavirus-disease-2019/.
The UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute has created a comprehensive guide on “Supporting Individuals with Autism Through Uncertain Times.” It offers a broad overview of seven strategies to guide support as well as specific resources like social stories and picture guides for handwashing - https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/sites/afirm.fpg.unc.edu/files/covid-resources/Supporting%20Individuals%20with%20Autism%20through%20Uncertian%20Times%20Full%20Packet.pdf.
The US Administration for Community Living (ACL) has a webpage on what older adults and people with disabilities need to know about COVID-19, including symptoms, staying healthy, and federal resources and guidelines. Links to information en español and videos in American Sign Language are also available on the webpage. - https://acl.gov/COVID-19.
The NC Council on Developmental Disabilities provides state-level advocacy and support for people with developmental disabilities. The Council is in communication with state officials on responses to COVID-19. Their website has an update from the NC Department of Health and Human Services - https://nccdd.org/news-media/action-alerts/934-in-case-you-missed-it-dhhs-covid-19-update-call-report.html.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has a page on COVID-19 with comprehensive information, including news briefings, guidelines, and executive orders. The page also includes resources for childcare, those unemployed, how to stay healthy, and more - https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina.
Support and Connection
The Family Support Network™of North Carolina has 12 affiliate programs across the state and connects families of people who have disabilities with one another for support and community. FSN NC is still operating remotely and offering virtual services during this time, including parent to parent connections, information and referral, and virtual support groups – fsnnc.org.
The Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC is focusing on dry goods and shelf-stable products and is packaging family boxes to be distributed by local agencies. Visit their Food Finder to learn more about food assistance in your area - https://foodbankcenc.org/find-help/food-finder/.
No Kid Hungry NC offers information about accessing meals for children during school closures - http://nokidhungrync.org/. A comprehensive, regularly updated document is available - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KQzg3hcEZmm1x7ZJ4TBmkCN7lY3aF36HjRKxBeuA2M0/edit#heading=h.g2bcvse3iyyh.
Housing and Utilities
United Way 2-1-1 offers a helpline and online search engine to connect individuals and families to a variety of comprehensive human services in their area - https://www.unitedwaync.org/nc211, or call 2-1-1.
Charter Communications is offering free Wi-Fi through Spectrum for 60 days to families who do not already have internet access and have a K-12 child in their home - https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-free-spectrum-internet-wifi-offer-student-households-promotion-2020-3.
Eligible families can receive reduced-price internet through Spectrum - https://www.spectrum.com/browse/content/spectrum-internet-assist.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has partnered with the North Carolina Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) network to launch a hotline to provide child care options for children of critical workers who do not have access to typical care because of COVID-19 closures.
Families who have flexible working arrangements are encouraged to stay at home with their children. Workers who need care may call 1-888-600-1685 to receive information about local options for children from infants through age 12. The hotline is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The US Department of Education has released a fact sheet on protecting civil rights of students, including those with disabilities, during changes to school operations due to COVID-19 - https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/ocr-coronavirus-fact-she.... They have also released a document on questions and answers about providing services to students with disabilities during COVID-19 - https://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/qa-covid-19-03-12-2020.pdf.
The NC Department of Public Instruction has a website with information regarding impact of the coronovirus on public instruction in the state - https://www.dpi.nc.gov/news/covid-19-response-resources.