Dear AbilityPath Family,
The pace of changes we have had to adapt to this week has been unprecedented. I know how unsettling and disorienting this has been for all of us. As we announced in our earlier messages to families and staff, we have suspended many of our programs, aligning their temporary closure with orders issued by Governor Newsom, the Santa Clara County Department of Health and the San Mateo County Department of Health. The directive from local health officials stated the suspension of non-essential services would be in effect through May 4th. The Governor’s statewide shelter-in-place order was stated to be in effect for an indefinite period of time. While we do not have any definitive information for how long the shelter-in-place orders will be in effect, we are preparing for them to be in effect for a period of time that may extend well beyond May 4th.
Immediately following the temporary suspension of our programs earlier this week, all of our teams have been working hard to design new programs and alternative means of delivering services to meet the needs of our community. Every one of our teams spent the first part of the week brainstorming ways to provide some continuity of our programs for the children, adults and families we serve. As of Wednesday, we had already successfully adapted several services to a “virtual” format. Here are some of the newly reconfigured services we have started:
- Providing remote services to more than 100 individuals who live independently and directly supporting those who have emergency needs, including ensuring their homes are prepared with food and essential supplies and handling medical needs such as ordering medications, monitoring health conditions like blood sugar counts, and communicating with health providers.
- Supporting the mental health of individuals enrolled in our day programs by keeping them socially connected.
- Day program instructors are preparing lessons and programming to be provided remotely as early as next week.
- Employment specialists are providing remote coaching services for individuals who are still working at their jobs to support our community at locations such as grocery stores and pharmacies.
- CollegePath instructors began remote sessions to ensure students were successful in moving to online learning.
Children’s Therapy Services:
- We are offering tele-therapy for children with special needs, which included upgrading laptops and virtual tools for therapists so they can provide remote services in place of in-person appointments.
- Our school district therapists will be offering virtual therapy as soon as the six school districts are ready to go live with their distance learning curriculum
- All in-network insurance companies (including Kaiser) and both Regional Centers (GGRC and SARC) have now agreed to cover telehealth for occupational, physical, and speech therapy as well as Early Intervention.
Learning Links and Milestones Preschools:
- Teachers are offering virtual circle time for children enrolled at our Learning Links and Milestones Preschools to support their ongoing learning and provide some structure during this time of uncertainty.
- Teachers are also sharing sample daily schedules and curriculum for families to continue the learning at home.
- We launched Special Education Consultation Service today, allowing families to schedule phone or video call with inclusion teachers and discuss a variety of topics to help support parents and their child during this challenging time.
Family Support Services:
- A database of resources and information for families of children with special needs during the COVID-19 Shelter in Place is available. We welcome resource submissions at HMGSMC@abilitypath.org.
- Our Family Resource Center coordinators remain available by telephone (650-259-0189) and email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to support parents of children with special needs. The Family Resource Center is also continuing weekly trainings and piloting support groups using a virtual format.
- Parents and providers can contact our Help Me Grow team during normal business hours with questions about child development and services for children in San Mateo County. Please call 650-762-6930 or email email@example.com.
- Parents can access developmental screenings for their child our online screening tools available in English and Spanish. We can also schedule telephone screenings. Please call 650-762-6930 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am extremely proud of how quickly our team has responded to meet the needs of our community, while also juggling the chaos this crisis has created in their own lives. We are attempting new approaches so we can continue providing services. Along the way, some of these programs may not work. We will not let initial setbacks deter us from forging ahead. We are here to serve you. Our mission will always be to further acceptance, respect and inclusion in our community. This mission is even more important in a time of uncertainty.
We thank you for your patience and for your support. We are in this together.