Help Your Child With Special Needs Stay on Track During COVID-19 School Closure
Navigating this uncharted territory of raising a child during a pandemic is proving to be a stressful experience for many parents. Now, imagine raising a child with special needs during a pandemic; these parents have even more expectations placed on them to help ensure their child does not regress. If you are a parent of a child with special needs, not only do you have to stop your ever so favorite coffee trips, time with friends, target runs (or “crawls”, rather), solo time to get things done, or ________(insert whatever floats-your-boat- here), now you have to become a teacher AND a therapist; AND FAST. While this is still uncharted territory for all involved, we do know some things that you can do to help ease the burden of the pandemic when it comes to your child’s education. The New York Times wrote “Parents and Schools Are Struggling to Care for Kids With Special Needs” to help parents with special needs curb their child’s regression during their time without face-to-face services. And what did Behavior By Design do to help curb your worries? Well, we used the information from this article to create an easy-to-reference list to save you time and bring you some relief, because you deserve it! While we both know the true credit goes to The New York Times, I am still happy to be able to make your never-could-have-anticipated simultaneous role as a parent, therapist, personal chef, teacher, principle…the list goes on….easier.
1) Try to be patient with your teacher, therapist, district, etc. as new teaching techniques are planned and logistical issues are solved.
2) Ensure you have a form of remote education or therapy in place. Reach out to your child’s principle or the special education department to find out what is available to your family.
3) Understand that you are still entitled to any upcoming planning and placement team meetings (IEP meetings).
4) Track your child’s progress and regression for their return to school.
5) Record the type and frequency of special-needs services being offered to your child during this time.
6) Know you are entitled to some type of compensatory education to make up the missed time once schools do reopen.
7) Follow a schedule similar to what your child is used to at school to help give them a sense of normalcy.
8) Don’t forget to take deep breaths and relax. This can be difficult to do, but remember that you need to be calm and handle your own stress to teach your child. Stay organized and have a plan. Remind yourself that you are doing your best, talk to a friend who can just listen, or reach out to your local disability organization or your child’s special education department for support groups.