Please note, I would never ask a therapist, teacher, ESP or doctor/nurse work during this unprecedented pandemic. However something is happening to families whose child has special needs and we have to talk about it.
I have a child who has lost all special education.
I am not an educator and I am not a Special Educator.
I am not a stay at home mom. I work full-time (yes, even now during the pandemic).
With the closure of the school system since March 17, 2020, Bridget’s special education teacher has been wonderful. She sent links and ideas on things we could do at home. Not being a teacher, we are attempting to do some of curriculum.
We are trying.
We are failing.
We are creating behaviors.
Not working from home, Bridget’s education has fallen onto her sister. I set the routine, the timers and the goals. Abby is trying to assist Bridget in completing her school work. I am learning to be more clear in my instructions.
Bridget’s teacher called to check in. I feel honestly bad that when she mistakenly asked what she could help with, I replied:
“Nothing, we have no help have been without any guidance. It’s like Bridget turned 21 and we are left alone.”
It is not her fault, it the fault of the pandemic combined with a loophole in the IDEA / FAPE laws.
There are plans being made, I’m told. There is discussion to move to an online learning style (something Bridget cannot do without maximum assistance), FaceTime / Google Hangouts with her peers so she stays connected (she won’t talk on the phone on a normal day) and we are being told that “maybe” we will be receiving more materials to help educate Bridget.
There has been no parent teachings, we are not educators and parents are the child’s biggest “trigger” for non-compliance. We have not been told of any parent support /teaching webinars . It’s great to send us EdMark for reading, but when your child refuses to read and pulls out their hair it takes something I love to do (read) and makes me look at a book with a pit in my stomach.
We are trying to do the writing exercises, but have no idea if we are doing it correctly. In this example I have a pretty good feeling that Abby may have helped more than a little:
We are trying to do every resource the teacher is giving us, but we do not know how to “teach” Bridget. We don’t know how to break down the steps, we do not know how to work around her rigidity (“I read for Miss J not mom”). We do not know the Wilson way of writing, we do not know what the heck level 32 means in EdMark and we do not know how …. (insert skill we are supposed to be teaching here).
We are being told not to “homeschool” but to just focus on family and work on what we can. That is not possible when you have a Bridget and every moment she is not in school you worry about the regression you know is coming.
I know this is being felt by parents of typical children. A friend that is a teacher proclaimed on Facebook that she loves teaching, but her homeschooling win today was teaching her son how to blow a bubble. None of us are prepared to teach (insert whatever grade your child is in) education. Having a child like Bridget adds another layer.
A very difficult layer.
Bridget isn’t missing school. She asks, I go school today? We reply no and she goes about the day. She is happy and content.
Until we tell her she has to do school work.
Her special education teacher has offered whatever help she can provide.
I’m just not sure what questions to ask.