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Best Buddies turns to virtual hangouts, activities for people with special needs

NOW: Best Buddies turns to virtual hangouts, activities for people with special needs

(CBS 58) -- April is Autism Awareness Month. As social distancing continues across the country, those with special needs are facing new challenges.

Best Buddies is an organization that works to promote inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Usually, a lot of the nonprofit's programming involves face-to-face interaction, but now they're going digital. 

"Our goal is that social distancing does not become social isolation," Best Buddies Wisconsin Deputy Director of Programs and Operations Leslie Dess said. "We support a population who is already incredibly vulnerable to isolation, whether it's the COVID pandemic or not."

Best Buddies created a webpage called the 'Virtual Program Toolkit' that has resources for staying healthy, practicing self-care and for staying connected during social distancing. 

On social media, the Wisconsin chapter is holding different online events like arts and crafts, trivia, movie marathons and promoting FaceTime and Zoom video-chats.

"Obviously we don't really know how long we're going to be in this virtual space or this virtual setting, but I do think that the resources we've created and the materials and just the different platforms that we will using will definitely be sustainable," Dess said. 

Best Buddies Wisconsin had a fundraising walk planned for June in Milwaukee, it will now be a virtual walk.

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