A CHARITY has responded to the challenges facing families during the pandemic by designing an innovative “home-schooling toolkit” for autistic children.

The North East Autism Society has launched the toolkit as a valuable addition to a suite of online resources developed throughout lockdown.

The toolkit, created by the Family Development Team at NEAS, comes in the form of a downloadable booklet, packed with tips, ideas, and useful information.

Family Development Manager, Kerrie Highcock, said: “We are always looking to increase the support we provide during this difficult time, and we are acutely aware that many families are having to cope with the added pressure of home-schooling.

“Home-schooling can be difficult for anyone, and it can be more challenging for autistic children, so our aim is to provide additional help that is quickly accessible and easy to use.”

The toolkit has become a new part of a “Virtual Support Hub” swiftly launched by NEAS at the start of the pandemic last year.

It includes “top tips” to keep home-schooling fun, a weekly planner, an evaluation section, to-do list, and links to useful websites offering free educational resources.

The virtual hub also has videos, giving tips from a parents’ perspective, and providing sensory strategies.

“When the pandemic began, no-one knew it would go on for so long, but we’ve tried to keep pace with the the ever-changing demands being placed on families,” added Kerrie.

“Hopefully, with the vaccination programme underway, we will soon be back to some kind of normality, but we will still have a wealth of virtual resources that will prove invaluable even after coronavirus is under control.”

Kerrie paid particularly tribute to Family Worker, Rebecca Welch, who was responsible for much of the work behind the home-schooling toolkit.