COVID-19 Special Edition #2
March 30, 2020
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Supporting Transformative Autism Research

The STAR team continues its commitment to partnering with you in finding solutions for the needs of people with autism and their families. A recording of our virtual live event last Thursday, "Managing Behaviors at Home" with Dr. Nevill has been posted to Autism DRIVE and our Facebook Page .

We hope you can join us this week for our next virtual live event, "Juggling Work and School at Home" with Gail Lovette, PhD, who specializes in Special Education, and Rose Nevill, PhD, BCBA, this Thursday, April 2 from 8:00 - 8:45 p.m. Join us for a brief presentation followed by an opportunity for Q & A with real-time advice for parents and caregivers. To register for this event: click here . If you are unable to attend, a recording will be made available next week.

Visit our Facebook page to find resources including COVID-19 Social Stories, Toolkits, and other educational information.

Please reach out to the STAR Family Navigation Team for assistance in accessing resources or the STAR Research Core for information about research studies.

The STAR Team
FREE Virtual Live Event
"Juggling Work and School at Home"
Gail Lovette, PhD and Rose Nevill, PhD, BCBA
Thursday, April 2, 2020
8:00 - 8:45 PM
Live event on Zoom

Due to limited space, registration is required.
To register: click here

After you register, you will receive a link to the Zoom meeting and an appointment for your calendar. If you do not have Zoom installed on your computer, please do so prior to the event at
Gail E. Lovette, PhD is an Assistant Professor, Research Faculty in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education (CISE) and core faculty in the Supporting Transformative Autism Research (STAR) initiative.  Read more about Dr. Lovette.
Rose Nevill, PhD, BCBA is the Research Assistant Professor of Education and Director of the UVA Autism Research Core. Rose is interested in applied research with individuals with autism spectrum disorder across the lifespan.  Read more about Dr.Nevill.
How to get your kids to do their schoolwork while getting your own work done
Being a parent and a teacher while also working a full-time job presents unique challenges. (Photo by Whitelaw Reid, University Communications)

Making a schedule, sticking to a routine, keeping things fun and interesting.

Yeah, it all sounds good on paper, right?

But many parents had a rude awakening on Monday when, due to the closure of schools caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they were suddenly teachers and, simultaneously, trying to do their own work from home.

UVA Today turned to Gail Lovette, an assistant professor in the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and Human Development – who has three young children – for a life raft … er, guidance.

“It is so hard to parent, teach and also work a full-time job,” said Lovette, who has an 8-, a 6- and a 4-year-old. “It’s virtually impossible, actually.

“I have two pieces of advice: The first is to lower your expectations for yourself and for your kids. The second is to triage your tasks and set a very strategic schedule for yourself and for them. The younger your kids are, the harder this going to be because, developmentally, they’re not able to work as independently.

“My 4-year-old said to me this morning, ‘If you’re my teacher, will you still be my mom?’ So it can be hard to cross boundaries in your relationships with your kids. I would say the more you talk to your kids ahead of time about the schedule and what needs to be accomplished, the better.”

Here are some more tips:

Set Realistic Goals

Lovette believes that if you don’t set realistic goals for both you and your kids, you’ll “crash and burn early.”

“Unlike a snow day, where it’s just a couple days and you can make it work, this is going to go on for who knows how long,” she said. “I would say use Alexa if you have one to take music and listening breaks and build in activity breaks for everyone. I’m used to putting my head down and
writing for eight hours or working on a research project or teaching my class, but that’s just not going to be feasible anymore."

5 Quick Tips
for Juggling Work and School at Home
  • Put on your own oxygen mask first. You now have three roles: parent, teacher, and working adult. It is virtually impossible to be perfect in all three areas and it is okay to let some things go for yourself and your children. If you’re feeling burned out in any/all of the roles, take a break and recharge.  
  • Organize and prioritize schedules.  Each night, sort the tasks for work and for school that must get done the next day and then set a schedule. Maintaining a daily and cumulative weekly MUST DO checklist for you and your children can help you to prioritize daily tasks.

  • Maintain routines and structure for your kids when you can. Keeping lunch, snack, and rest/nap/quiet times consistent with their school schedule will help to maintain some of the familiar routines for your children. This may also mean that you will need to build your own work schedule around these times.

  • Schedule the day in manageable chunks. One tip is to add a zero after each child’s grade level to determine a realistic amount of time for them to focus on a specific task: schedule K and 1st graders for 10 minutes per task, 2nd graders 20 minutes, and so on. Build in breaks for your family to get outside, move, and have some fun during the day.

  • Involve your children and give them choice as much as possible. Allowing your children some choice in planning their daily schedules and choosing the incentives for them for completing school and/or house work will help them to feel some control.
  • Schedules for Students: Khan Academy has created schedules for students who are now learning at home. They also have self-paced, interactive content--exercises, videos and articles that are free.

  • Mental Health and Respite Resources: Many of us are feeling increased anxiety and uncertainty during this challenging time; the Autism Society team and their Panel of Professional Advisors put together Mental Health and Respite resources for our families to find relief.

  • How to Create Schedules: Spectrum Sense for Moms has created a “How To” for creating visual schedules. They also included resources and practical applications for those schedules.

For more visual schedules, communication aids and social stories, go to Autism DRIVE. Our Facebook page (#autismuva) includes these and other resources to use while you and your family are at home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are a Service Provider, you can follow a link and submit your resources for posting.
Research Studies Status
For health and safety reasons, there have been changes to all currently enrolling research studies. Click here to find the status of your study.
About STAR
The mission of the UVA Supporting Transformative Autism Research (STAR) initiative is to improve the lives of individuals with autism and their families through research, education, and outreach. STAR brings together researchers, community partners, individuals with autism and their families to leverage strengths and address challenges. Our ultimate goal is to empower individuals with autism, their families, and their communities to achieve positive outcomes and quality of life.

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University of Virginia
Curry School of Education and Human Development
417 Emmet Street, South
Charlottesville, VA 22904