While most parents struggle with work and home school, my son with autism has excelled. Here’s how…
We are all in very unprecedented times during the pandemic of corona virus how we adapt and cope can make huge differences for children. I have been working from home since March as a teacher and my three kids and husband have also been home. We thought for awhile that daycare and our sons therapy office would remain open and take 2 of 3 kids out of the house a few hours each day. Well as the days passed, more closures and restrictions made that not possible.
The first two weeks were insanely stressful for me as I tried to find a new work life balance while figuring out how to do what I’ve been doing in a classroom for 15 years to online in 5 days. I had my come to Jesus moment when I had a 3:30 zoom with my intern and her college professor. They were insisting that I turn on my camera; and I refused! I actually refused three times and almost shouted at them but kept my mouth shut. I cried in bathroom at least three times that day, all before that 3.30 pm call. So, no I was not in any shape to video chat.
After this I realized I was going to have to get it together not only for myself but for these kids. I started saying yes. So, as everything closed and options were suggested, I said yes. My biggest yes was for Max (my 8 year old son with autism who just started the 1st grade as a full inclusion student) to have his behavior therapist come to my home everyday. She went to school with him everyday and knew the schedule and the expectations. She has been incredible for my son’s success. Everyday we work on his school work and additional work to help where he is behind developmentally.
He is exceeding expectations! Here’s why I think he is doing so well.
His autism keeps him from socializing appropriately with out coaching and practice. He prefers to play alone or with one person. He loves his friends but often shadows play and does not initiate. So now we cant interact or play. He’s not upset. He plays with siblings and himself, and he is happy. Now, my typical 6 year old daughter in kindergarten is sad and upset about missing school everyday. So his social and emotion health is great.
He is not stressed by school work. He has less work with virtual school and the same level of behavior support. Now he also has access to mom and dad during the day also. His teacher (behavioral specialist) keeps him working for 6 hours with frequent breaks outside. He went from having to leave math lessons at school for causing a disruption to doing math independently on the computer.
Distractions and disruptions. In a familiar home setting there is very little change or disruptions in the environment. It is easier for him to focus when we are each working in a different space, compared to class where fifteen other 1st graders are off task multiple times within a 15 minute lesson. He has to manage that stimulus and attention while trying to get him to focus and complete the lesson.
Why I have no shame in being proud. Max has been so far behind his peers for years that it is taking a freaking pandemic to give him a chance to catch up! So while all the other moms throw in the towel, I fight and push to learn more at home. I’m so thankful and appreciate of my therapist (teacher) that has been coming into my home everyday. She really is like part of the family now. I hope that when school starts that we will have made gains while the rest of his peers stayed at the same level. I know that for my typical child, I just want her to maintain her math, reading and writing. I’m not trying to do more lessons and she has already told me I’m not a good kindergarten teacher. But I want my son to get this opportunity to gain academic knowledge and skills because he is probably two years behind his age peers.
Do what you can, when you can. And just to be clear I could not do this without professional support from an amazing teacher because of her my son with autism is having amazing school success during corona virus home school.