I wonder how many school-aged children’s cosmic wishes were granted when the U.S. decided to suspend attendance in the 2020 school year 2-months before its scheduled completion?
Didn’t we all once wish spring break would go on forever, and we wouldn’t have to return to the classroom as the weather got warmer?
What kid didn’t celebrate that last freeing day of school when you burst out the door into the warmth with a stretch of open summer days in front of you?
Living with Uncertainty
It’s anybody’s guess how many collective wishes were granted, but at the very least, many decade’s worth of childhood desires were satisfied with that fateful decision.
It’s also anybody’s guess how the Fall 2020 school year will unfold.
Right now, parents are living with the uncertainty about what, if any, participation our children will have in traditional school settings, classrooms, fall sports, holiday pageants and all the trappings that go with the first half of the school year.
We have no idea what school will look like in the fall, and that’s kind of frightening!
It’s especially disconcerting if you have a child with special needs who was on a roll and finding some success or forward progress in their current school environment. Now that momentum has been stopped.
Managing the New Normal for School
This year both the need for, and the desire for learning from home has changed dramatically.
Recent Federal Government statistics indicate that only a small percentage of parents, representing 3.4% of the school-aged population, had made the choice to homeschool their children last year. In late March of 2020 that number skyrocketed to 100% and unwitting parents were flung into a mad scramble to manage the new normal for school that was suddenly forced upon us.
This event created all kinds of new issues for families, regardless of whether their kids are on the autism spectrum or not! Spanning from an abrupt and dramatic change in routine for everyone to the sudden decrease or even loss of special education services and therapies that are vital to the development of children with special needs.
“This year both the need for, and the desire for learning from home has changed dramatically.”
Many moms with ASD kids I have spoken with are worried that their children will lose ground that was very hard won! And worse, some of these moms feel unprepared to step in and create effective programming at home.
Who Will Stay Home with the Kids?
In between those extreme issues lie all the other challenges every family faces such as who will stay home with the kids if both parents work outside the home?
How will you manage your own work from home if you are elected as your families’ designated driver for the stay-at-home school bus!
I don’t know about you, but there were many, many times I celebrated the arrival of the big yellow tube, feeling relief as an opportunity to have my mind available for my other responsibilities at my job ambled down the street toward the bus stop. (Secretly, I think I still see the school bus and find comfort!) Even the opportunity to get the house picked up, the laundry done, or the grocery shopping accomplished without little people slowing me down (God bless ‘em!).
Working from home under the current circumstances is a brand-new challenge of its own for many people.
Many parents who were forced into mandatory homeschooling by Coronavirus experience emotions about homeschooling that range anywhere from somewhat frightening to utterly disagreeable. Some parents have jobs and responsibilities that require them to go out of their home, while others simply feel ill-equipped to provide educational support to their kids at home.
Concerns quickly erupt for parents who are looking at the new e-learning approach to schooling.
What about recreation and physical education? Socialization? Loss of extra circular activities that may be forming a child’s future such as clubs, music programs, and sports opportunities that might contribute to scholarships and other future life avenues?
“Education is a whole new ballgame today, and we have no idea how to plan for Fall 2020!”
And that’s for kids who don’t have ASD.
If your child does have ASD, you wonder and worry if your child is getting the therapy and special support they need; you know the struggle, effort and difficulty will be even more taxing for our children and ourselves at home.
Finding Ourselves at a Crossroad
Education is a whole new ballgame today, and we have no idea how to plan for Fall 2020!
Weighing out the pros and cons of e-learning, while trying to figure out the details of how to best help your child progress can feel overwhelming, especially when we have no idea what our states will allow in the fall!
We find ourselves at a crossroad.
Do we proactively plan for the stay-at-home scenario, or do we just wait and potentially get caught unprepared?
What we do today influences how our child develops into a healthy, independent and successful student, adult and human being. Oh my!