Learning How to Cope with the Pandemic as a Parent of a Special Needs Teen

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Avatar for Thefightwithinher
2 years ago
Topics: Autism, Special, Needs, Disability, Social, ...

I don't know about your local community, town, or city, but we are currently back to remote learning until well after the new year it seems. And while I agree with why our community's school board chose this plan, my son doesn't quite understand as well as I do. 

His autism allows him to think outside of the box rather than the craziness we often call normal, so with that being said, in the beginning of the covid crisis, he had a lot of meltdowns. There were days when he would meltdown from not being able to see his friends and days when his meltdowns revolved around trying to figure out how to submit assignments on Google. Believe me, I understood his frustration there! 

 Because of his autistic abilities my youngest son often needs help with focusing on his school work and other daily tasks.  He can focus for about 15 minutes on most days before he gets distracted and switches to doing something else before I even realize it.

On days his teachers are distracted themselves and unable to answer when he doesn't understand the required homework they are asking him to do, he goes into a meltdown because he doesn't have the para-support to help him. 

Right now my son is talking out loud to no one in particular, about how to play a video game in a specific way that he believes wholeheartedly is how everyone should play it.  

It's what some would now call a temporary day in life just until we get past this pandemic, while others see it basically as the "New Norm."

I don't know anyone ready for a crisis. There are days when I'm still not ready as I laugh at the silly thought that, Hey, the Flash is facing a crisis too! Many of us were just simply not ready. 

I can honestly say that working from home and simply being home is my passion. But there are days when I am overwhelmed because there is so much that needs to be done. 

Unfortunately, there is only one of me, so I have had to learn to adjust to the situation and even the benefits of working from home even during the covid crisis. But let's not pretend that everything is smooth sailing from here because there are still days! 

And on those days I……

I made sure my son's teachers knew what was going on when he had a meltdown and refused to do his schoolwork. Most of his teachers understood his special needs and worked with his schedule. 

I also kept in touch with his counselors both at school and away from it when I knew he was having a rough day or morning. 

I kept with his morning routine even when he was out of school and remote learning started a lot later. 

When you have a teenager that is on the autism spectrum, you learn some pretty interesting things about them such as how they love routines! But let's also be real to the fact that they can also go into a meltdown when their routine is even slightly off. 

So instead of changing his morning routine before school, he just uses the  extra time before class starts to do what he wants. 

But the pandemic hasn't just affected my son. Once I transitioned back to working from home, I started noticing that I had a lot more pickles on my plate. I thought life would be so much simpler and that I wouldn't have to work nearly as hard as I did at my old job. But the reality of it was that I only had so many hours in the day and only one of me! 

But I also learned that my day was not going to go down the crapper if I wasn't working by 7am or my son wasn't doing his schoolwork by 9am. 

We both even learned that it was okay to have lunch at 1230pm instead of noon. 

And by the way, it's also okay if your kids have a little more YouTube time or whatever they deem screen time worthy. My son loves visiting YouTube to learn how to play a specific song on his keyboard or guitar. To me, that's a moment of education, of learning. Why limit that! 

Don't be so hard on your kids. I know you feel like you should limit your children's screen time because there is that rule of right or wrong, but you don't always have to follow the rules. If your kids are a lot less stressed because they are spending their free time learning something new on Youtube or playing a game to keep their mind off the crisis, give them a break! 

Finally, no one expects you to be that perfect parent and it's okay if your neighbors see you taking a break outside with your children in the middle of the afternoon. 

Heck, one of my neighbors happens to be the board of education office, and I'm pretty sure they are okay with seeing my son and me outdoors on a remote learning beautiful day. 


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Avatar for Thefightwithinher
2 years ago
Topics: Autism, Special, Needs, Disability, Social, ...


You are so brave! I hope these pandemic will end and you will enjoy with your family. It is difficult and we need to be strong till the end. Keep it up. Cheers!

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2 years ago

Thank you! Not so sure about being brave, but just doing what needs to be done!

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2 years ago