Covidteaching Special Needs Kids

By: Randi Goodman

Raising twins with multiple special needs can be challenging under “normal” circumstances.  I have been navigating these waters for 6 years.  We are lucky enough that we are dealing with the public school system right now and well into this, because I don’t know what I’d expect if this all went down back in the early days of our Autism adventure. 

We used to have a revolving door for all of the therapists to come into our home to help our children figure out how to function in this world.  And thank goodness for that because we have so many tricks up our sleeves at this point.  See, nobody was expecting this virus and this quarantine.  Nobody knew what to do.  Nobody was ever prepared to be a therapist from afar or a therapist/teacher/parent/employee at home.  And don’t be fooled.  This is NOT homeschooling.  There are no field trips.  There isn’t even much of outdoor exploring in our own yard because of all of the fear attached to this unknown. 

But here’s what has helped the most: From day one we have worried about how rigid autistic children can be.  From day one we have worried about how a little bit of rain changing our schedule would trigger a pair of meltdowns, how a broken granola bar would ruin a whole morning, how a cancellation or closure might send a kid down an ugly behavioral spiral. 

Sometimes it’s the little things that help save us from the big things.  These kids have been learning and practicing adaptability for ages.  I have moved furniture around in our house.  I have purposely hidden specific articles of clothing so that they must wear something else.  Mind you, they didn’t have to wear something they couldn’t handle, they just couldn’t wear the thing they had hoped to wear because it wasn’t available.  I have calculated my timing such that I am one minute late to pick them up on one day because that it slightly tolerable and next time I can be 2 minutes late on purpose so that they can learn to handle that at their pace.  And right now, for all of that, there are two small children who have not been complaining of boredom or missing out on activities.  They are not acting like it’s the end of the world.  And in turn, they are helping me believe that it’s not.

Here is a great link with tons of ideas for sensory diet activities that you can likely do at home to help make up for what the kids aren’t getting at school right now.

https://www.sensorysmarts.com/sensory_diet_activities.html