COVID-19 Information and Resources
We developed this page to share information on internal and external resources that may be useful during the COVID-19 pandemic, including information specific to the autism community. We will regularly update this page with emerging information, making it easier for you to find content in one place. If we are missing a resource others should know about or if a resource has changed, please let us know.
Last updated on: September 14, 2020
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Update (September 14, 2020): An individual who was recently at the Autism Edmonton office has tested positive for COVID-19. We wish them a speedy recovery and have a few announcements to make given this situation.
As a precautionary measure, our team members who have been in direct contact with this individual are self-quarantining by staying at home and getting tested.
Health and safety is our number one priority. With that in mind, here are some temporary changes to our operations that we are introducing:
1) All staff are working remotely - we are still available to answer your calls and email inquiries
2) Online programming continues
3) In-person visit and the Pantry Program visits are suspended
4) Autism Edmonton Annual General Meeting is rescheduled for October 19.
Please note, the Occasio staff has not been in contact with this person as the program activities are delivered at a different location. Occasio activities will not be suspended and will be taking place at Winnifred Stewart or out in the community. The only change to the Occasio programming is that the Sunday gaming night will be moved to a different location.
Update: Autism Edmonton Office and the Pantry Food Program Are Open By Appointment Only as COVID-19 Safety Measure (SUSPENDED)
To make an appointment, please call 780-453-3971 ext. 1. All visitors will be required to wear masks and use hand sanitizer upon entering the building. Masks will be provided if needed. All visitors will also be asked to follow social distancing and hand hygiene protocols. Walk-ins are not accepted at this time.
The safety of customers and staff is a priority. That’s why we are committed to:
- Cleaning regularly, especially in high traffic areas
- Wiping down and disinfecting surfaces
- Providing access to hand sanitizer
- Encouraging staff to stay home and away from others if sick
- Helping Albertans maintain physical distancing of 2 metres
- Having staff wear a face mask, where possible
We are also available to answer your questions and connect by phone or email. Our hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For support services, please call 780-453-3971 ext. 1. Our full directory can be found on the contact page.
- Beginning April 23, 2020, the Ministry of Community and Social Services (CSS) will be releasing a weekly Q&A to answer questions from the Community Disability Services sector. If you have any questions or concerns on COVID-19 related issues that you'd like to be covered in this Q & A, please submit them to Iryna at firstname.lastname@example.org. We invite you to share your input so that your views on the impact of the pandemic on the autism community will be considered.
- Advocacy Toolkit for Parents and Caregivers - Back to School During COVID (NEW)
- Eleanor Brownn
- Self Care for Kids (download here)
- Self Care for Adults (download here)
- Self Care for Adults with Kids (download here)
Protective Masks Available for Order
Community and Social Services (CSS) and Alberta Health Services will provide masks to you to provide to staff coming to your home to provide services through Family Support for Children with Disabilities agreements and Family Managed Services agreements. In order to determine your needs and to expedite distribution when masks are available, please return this form to CSS.EdmontonDisabilityServices@gov.ab.ca. If possible, please provide this information by April 27, 2020; however, orders will continue to be accepted after this date. If you have questions or prefer to provide information by phone please call 780-427-4354. For toll free service dial 310-0000 followed by the area code and phone number. One week after you receive the first order of masks, please use the form to re-order the number of masks you will need for the next two-week period.
Please note, when masks are used there are precautions that need to be taken to ensure they are used properly. Alberta Health Services has shared information on how to use PPE safely, read more here: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/info/Page6422.aspx
To Protect Yourself and Others, Alberta Health Recommends:
- cover coughs and sneezes
- avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill
- ensuring their proper social distance - remain two meters apart or about the length of a hockey stick
- use good hygiene practices, such as frequent handwashing
- if you have symptoms, stay home and call Health Link 811 for instructions, as well as use the COVID-19 Online Assessment Tool
- Social stories to help you learn about and explain COVID-19:
- What is the Coronavirus? - Social Story
- Coronavirus: Why do I have to stay at home? - Social Story
- I Miss My Friends at School - Social Story
- We Wear Masks - Social Story
- Social Distancing - Social Story
- My Day at Home Visual Support - Social Story
- Importance of Washing Hands - Social Story
- COVID-19 Information by and for People with Disabilities (plain language by Green Mountain Self-Advocates)
- Prime Minister announces supports for Canadians with disabilities to address challenges from COVID-19
- Financial help for Canadians affected by COVID-19
Have you been laid off? Are you self-employed and your work has been impacted by the pandemic? Are you caring for children and have to stay home? CBC News has created this helpful hub guide to answer your questions about benefits that are relevant to you: https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/coronavirusbenefits/
- Emergency Funding For University of Alberta Students
This Emergency Funding programs are designed to cover temporary financial shortfalls due to delays in funding (e.g., government student loan is late) or unexpected expenses (e.g., necessary car repairs, emergency dental work). Emergency funding can come in the form of emergency bursaries (non-repayable) or emergency loans (short-term, interest-free loans). To learn more, click here.
- Free Medicine Delivery Services
- Free Delivery Programs
- Bag-Half-Full: Free delivery organized by UAlberta medical students to help support elderly and immunocompromised community. You pay for groceries online, or provide a grocery list (and grocery funds), students will deliver your order. Online form or call 780-952-7101 or 780-297-7800
- Fly & Fetch: Fetchers willing to pick up and deliver groceries for free or a small fee. Each fetcher has info on their weekly schedule and area in the city they can serve
- Fresh Routes: If you are in isolation and are unable to get food, Fresh Routes delivers food baskets at no to low cost depending on eligibility. For help, call Steve 403-249-8350
- Helping Hands delivery program: Free delivery for grocery and personal essentials for seniors and those unable to leave home. Call 587-785-7749
- Men in Kilts: Free delivery, helping those who cannot leave their home due to increased risks or have no other help available to them. Send requests email@example.com.
For families and caregivers, the COVID-19 pandemic has made life quite challenging these days. Parents have to juggle the added responsibility of working from home with the demands of childcare and homeschooling their children at the same time. For many families of children on the autism spectrum, this is especially hard, because it means sudden disruptions to their routines that can be difficult to manage.
For a child on the autism spectrum to relax, it is often necessary to introduce new daily routines. Every step of the daily routine should be predictable. We use visual schedules for this purpose.
- What to Do When Your Child on the Autism Spectrum’s Routine Is Disrupted by the Coronavirus? https://themighty.com/2020/03/covid-19-autism-routine-disruption/
New Visitor Guidance from AHS: One visitor at a time will be allowed for patients with specific challenges such as mobility, hearing, visual speech-language or memory impairment or patients with developmental disabilities requiring the presence of the visitor for care and/or support. This may be a Disability Support Worker or other caregiver.
Caregiver COVID-19 Resources
New to homeschool? Don’t be too hard on yourself. Allow time to adjust. Here are some more tips for teaching your kids at home. (PDF)
Alberta Education Helpline for Parents During COVID Pandemic: Parents can reach the help line by calling 780-422-6548 (toll-free by dialing 780-310-0000, followed by the 10-digit phone number) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, more than 4,000 curriculum resources to support parents and students are available on the LearnAlberta.ca website. School authorities have also made various resources available on their own websites. (NEW)
Caregiver Education & Tools:
- 6 free online speech therapy resources for kids
- Cool Math
- Open Culture: Free educational resources for K-12
- OST Collaborative: Resources that will be useful for families during this period of social isolation
- WWEST Science/Engineering Resources (SFU): Student/Teacher/Parent resources & publications
- Free Audio Books
How to keep kids active during the coronavirus lockdown: https://globalnews.ca/news/6799443/coronavirus-keeping-kids-active/
Recreational Resources Online:
- Sensory Activities at Home
- Quarantine Games: List of games (free and paid) you can play online
- Kids at Home: Your one-stop shop where you can see upcoming online events, weekly classes and fields trips, and more, to help you through this difficult time
- GoNoodle.com: A fun activity to keep children active for those who like music and dancing, and have the skill of gross motor imitation; the website has fun goofy songs paired with actions to follow along with and children can to do it in their living room
- Metro Cinema Virtual Screenings: Now offering free screenings of their films online
- Virtual Museum Tours
- National Film Board of Canada - Films on this site can be streamed free of charge, or downloaded for your personal use for a small fee
- Backyard activities against cabin fever during coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
- Telus World of Science: DIY science experiments you can try using household items
Free Fitness Resources:
- Blogilates has created a 14 day quarantine workout plan. She also has tons of free workout videos on YouTube.
- Free Footie Soccer Society (YEG): Offering free Facebook live videos around sports/wellness to improve skills
- Nike Training App
- Peloton Home Fitness App: 3 month free trial- cycling, meditation, yoga, and workouts
- Supporting the mental health of autistic individuals during covid-19 times
- 50 Ways to Stay Mentally Healthy While Social Distancing: Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
- Free Mental Health Resources: Dropbox link with over 200 free resources (books, worksheets, workbooks, guides) to help others cope with anxiety/fear, addiction, depression, suicidal idealization and stress
- Help4Me: Youth Addiction and Mental Health Resources from My Health Alberta
- CASA Centre Webinars: The Impact of Pandemic on Mental Health
- Text4hope: This is a free program through Alberta Health Services that provides daily texts with resources and tools to support building coping skills during COVID 19
- HeadsUpGuys: This website is a great resource for guys looking for information and practical ways to manage depression and stress. Includes up-to-date posts and lots of good ideas on how to stay well
- A Mindful Mess: This resource offers free 30-minute mindfulness sessions on Zoom
- Watch an autism-specific Q&A facilitated by mental health clinicians on anxiety and COVID-19
- Why is everyone worried about the coronavirus? (NEW)
- The Big Red Safety Box - https://nationalautismassociation.org/big-red-safety-box/
- Awaare - http://awaare.nationalautismassociation.org/
DISCLAIMER: Autism Edmonton does not endorse any service or organization listed on this page. This page is intended only to help families and individuals navigate their options for services.