COVID19FamilySmall.jpg Supports for Families

Office Hours:

Please note office hours are intended to provide real-time technical assistance to educators, caregivers, parents, and students. Technical assistance is not legal advice. Specific questions concerning a student’s special education program or the laws relating to the provision of services in a child’s IEP (Individualized Educational Program) should be directed to ConsultLine at 800-879-2301.

Testing your system:

Participants are encouraged to test your computers/devices prior to the date of the web conference using, and to seek local assistance if you encounter difficulty.

Date/Time: Families may arrange appointments by contacting PaTTAN Educational Consultants. Please contact Jennifer Edgar at ( or Greg Lazur ( appointments. 

Email for Questions:   Jennifer Edgar at (jedgar@pattan.netand Greg Lazur (

Pre-Recorded Trainings:

Accessible Media Inc. has a number of short videos (approximately 2 min.) on general life, kitchen and travel hacks/tips for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Families may find these videos helpful in teaching their children everyday life skills. Below are video topics, with links,  found under the various search criteria.

  • AMI Blind “Life Hacks”  includes short videos on How to Tie a Tie,  Navigating without a cane, Cane Tips, Orientation and Mobility, Bathroom Tips, Makeup Application, Choosing a Guide Dog

  • AMI Blind “Kitchen Hacks includes short videos on Setting up your Kitchen, Organizing your Kitchen, Using Bump Dots in your Kitchen, Kitchen Weight Scale, Kitchen Tips, Chopping Garlic, Basic Knife Use, Dicing an Onion

  • AMI Getting There: Vacation and “Travel Tips”  includes short videos on Packing for a Trip, Asking for Directions, Laura's Travel Tips



New Website for Families and General Educators for Complex Learners 
It is recognized that everyone is doing their best to manage work, self-care, children’s online education, and more during the COVID-19 pandemic. Families and professionals supporting children with disabilities face additional challenges. You are not in this alone. The Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN), in collaboration with the Bureau of Special Education, has created a website for families and general educators supporting complex learners at home. For the purpose of this website, a complex learner is a child, youth, or young adult with an intellectual or significant cognitive disability, multiple disabilities, and/or sensory impairment.

Accessibyte  is offering free access to our “full range of fun, funky, fully accessible apps for users who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, dyslexic, or have other reading difficulties.

Audible is providing free selected online book titles while schools are closed.

Bookshare provides access to thousands of books to students with print disabilities. Through the provided link parents can sign-up their children for an account. However, we strongly encourage parents to first connect with their Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments to determine if their child already has an account. 

Center for Parent Information and Resources: Visual Impairment Including Blindness - This site provides family-friendly information and research-based materials on key topics for parents, including visual impairment.

Family Connect -  “Family Connect is an online, multimedia community created to give parents of visually impaired children a place to support each other, share stories and concerns, and link to local resources.”

Hadley School for the Blind is offering free trainings, both online and on demand, for the rest of the academic year

The National Braille Press has three free books available for free  download. 

Paths to Literacy

  • Working Together to Support Students with Visual Impairments  - The goal  of this site is to link students and families directly to volunteers in the field to ensure students can access their curriculum.  You may fill out the form asking what you need assistance with to be paired with a volunteer.
  • Homework Helpline Tues -Thurs, 3:30pm - 8pm EST, March 17- April 16, 2020 (*end date may be adjusted based on school closure developments) Students submit a support request via email and receive a call-back during the designated NHH-BVI times. The hotline does not provide tutoring in non-Expanded Core Curriculum content areas. This new addition to Paths to LIteracy includes support in the following ways: navigating accessible websites with JAWS, nemeth and literary braille reading and writing, navigating tablet/laptop using JAWS and Over, Using refreshable braille display. 

VISTAS Education Partners - National Homework Hotline for Blind/Visually Impaired Students “is a free service for K-12 and college students in the United States who are experiencing school closures due to COVID-19 Areas of hotline help include, but are not limited to:

  • JAWS
  • Voice Over for macOS and iOS devices
  • Nemeth and literary braille
  • Cranmer abacus
  • Refreshable braille displays
  • Core Curriculum Subjects (Math, ELA, Science, Social Studies)”

YouDescribe App this site provides a selection of youtube videos that have been audible described by volunteers.

LIst of Zoos and Parks providing live streaming events and tours.