As schools are getting ready to return to the school year, many in the autism community are perplexed by the decisions of each individual school board as is the case in my state. With the guidelines brought forth by the CDC, many schools around here are going to four days or three days a week of in person instruction And the remainder will be done online, although Students and their families have the option to opt out and choose online learning either through a district online Academy or another alternative. Furthermore, they have the option of using charter schools or other methods such as a private school or online school should they choose that as well. Sometimes opting out isn’t easy switching back and forth isn’t easy either it’s a tough decision, do you want the child to be happy healthy and being able to not have a meltdown , or do you want your Peace of Mind knowing that they have something to do .
Now in my school district, although I no longer attend (I have graduated 16 years ago) students with an individualized educational plan Or an IEP have the option of going to school four days a week with permission of the director of special education. This would work with proper social distancing guidelines an ability to keep 6 feet apart. Although I have reservations about many wearing a mask all day long and having the ability to keep it on for the remainder of the day. Mask breaks should be encouraged if they can be, however some states do not allow them. Things are different when I went to school 15 years ago heck even 20 years ago, I put in imagine it’s becoming a part of a plan even in the involvement of computers.
You must listen into what your child’s heart is saying. If they are expressing concerns or anxieties about going back to school and you can tell it’s more than the normal anxieties are butterflies and we all know what those are, then do your best if you can and reserve judgement and keep your child home. I know online is not the preferred method of learning for some it is for some it’s not however if it gives you Peace of Mind knowing your child is safe and not in constant meltdown or shut down Or is causing incidences in the school every day, then you must be a certain that you did the right thing.
This is definitely a world of unknowns no doubt about it Nobody knows the future , there is a great deal anxiety among all autists, no matter if you’re in a child adolescent or adult it’s a great deal anxiety for anybody let alone a person with autism. Yes, I can guarantee you call there will be a lot of unknown uncertainties and unexpected events this year, no doubt about it. If so you need to write that in your IEP explicitly about how individuals take the instructions in how they should be explained in a clear and concise way to So that the child has an ability be calm relaxed and have the correct directions given. Now we know that not all instructors and authoritarians of a school or followers by the letter of the IEP however if it’s not in place you have nowhere to back it up and that is what matters
Now with all these changes it is best to remember the teachers themselves did not create the reopening plans for each individual school these are made at the administrative and oftentimes board level they just have to follow the orders as they are instructed or they will face disciplinary action themselves it’s a sad world, but we are in a great deal of unknown and it’s not just the autism community that is at stake. What matters is creating a safe and comforting environment for everyone. The teachers to have families they must go home to at the end of the day, and we must be understanding of their needs as well.
in closing I feel we need to work as a team everybody this year because we need to be a supportive of everybody’s downfalls and also be supportive and encouraging of everybody’s achievements no matter how big or how small they are we all need some good in this year of unknown uncertainty and fear .