Nobody is excused from this pandemic period. With school closures parents of special needs children face stressful and demanding challenges.
Loss of valuable time
Students with disabilities and their parents all over the country is dealing this harsh blow.
During this extraorodinary time life throws on us, the change in their school routine, with loss of their own team who helped them gain skills, and lack of educational learning experience is unfortunate.
To retrieve those skills will take a lot of time and effort. In the autism world we call it as ‘Regression’.
I admit that it is very discouraging when you see that the special needs children who need the maximum help are not getting any support.
Life happens. Do we have a choice?
Let’s all be informed that school districts all over the country are working hard to fill the gap. Also, we have to understand that they can do only so much. They can’t send their teachers or aides to our home. Can they?
So, Now WHAT?
Parent advocacy is what is required right now, more crucial than ever. First and foremost, Stay Calm. Children pick up on our energy, the more anxious we are, it gets difficult for them to stay calm.
It is also essential to teach them about the situation using the language or communication tool that your child will be able to understand.
Some kids want real facts like my son is much more understanding when I tell him the fact rather than a fictitious reason.
However if your child may benefit from fiction then compare COVID-19 to a monster and tell that you have to stay inside doing school homework, play games, watch TV, etc.
Set a Schedule
The best thing you can do as a parent is to get your son or daughter on a schedule, and put a structure in all of your lives, to keep their minds and bodies active throughout the day. That schedule will help an autistic child stay focused and on task. – Dr. Temple GrandinTweet
This is one strategy that comes in handy no matter what the circumstances are, and unexpectedly during this school closure period, we need this more.
Everyday schedules will help your child cope with the current norm and also will prevent a signifant loss in skills.
Please know that every parent is struggling with distance learning for their child. The situation is tough. Give yourself some time.
With that said, here are 2 effective tactics to follow in this Lockdown period for your Autistic child to progress.
1. Get involved and connect with the School
With the school closure all the services are no longer available to your child and also many kids are not a good candidate for online learning which the school district is providing.
What do you do? Here are few simple tips to apply today –
- Send mails to your child’s school teacher, speech therapist, OT and other therapists to understand the learning methodology your child had.
- Speech therapist and OT might also send you some exercises you can do with your child through their own video recording or some other video resources.
- School teacher may also offer to say hi and talk to your child in video conference regularly. She will be willing to train you to teach your child.
Trust your School teacher, they are always ready to help you.
2. Televisits with ABA providers and other therapies.
- In a week my son has 14-15 hrs of ABA therapy with 1 hr of Group therapy. Additionaly, 45 mts each of Speech, Occupational and Physical therapy. Due to the unprecedented time all have come to a still.
- Neverthess, all the providers were ready to offer Televisits. The insurance considers it as a medical need and are ready to cover them as an in home therapy.
- My son started televisits for ABA, Speech and Occupational therapy two weeks back. Initially he was finding it funny and frustrating as well but after one session, he got settled down.
- I have to sit with him throughout his Speech and OT sessions to redirect him.
- With ABA therapy, The supervisor will televisit and guide me. I act as my son’s Behavioral therapist and run the session. Also, I get separate training to handle his behaviors.
I heard from many parents that they are skeptical to start televisits as they are considering not to be effective.
As I am writing this post my son has attended; 2 telelvisits of OT, 3 telelvisits of speech and 6 ABA televisits. I started with uncertainty but trusted the therapist’s and supervisor, because I was positive that they will work hard to keep my son intellectually engaged and make it beneficial for him.
- Televisits are certainly making a positive contribution to the distance learning and fills the learning gap.
- The ABA goals are being run without any problems.
- My son looks forward to the therapy sessions though it is a different approach.
- My son loves all his therapists and he misses seeing them.
- The ABA televists timings are short compared to inhome therapy.
- Parents/caregiver have to support and run the televisits.
Parents don’t waste another day, call your providers and take advantage of the Televisits. They are all working hard for your child. Trust them.
Takeaways from this post
- Life happens. Trust yourself and your child always. You can do it.
- Stay Calm
- Set a Schedule
- Get involved and connect with your child’s school teachers
- Involve in your child’s Televisits
I know things are hard right now, but I’m cheering for you!
How are you handling school works and therapies for your child?