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Good Afternoon(or whatever time it is where you are at),
How are you doing? I know that it has been a minute, to say the least, since COVID-19 hit. Our lives are forever changed and will never be the same. There are no words to explain how we are doing or feeling right now, but the one thing that remains constant is to live life fully and in the moment. As a parent of a special needs son of color and African descent I try not to watch the news and all that is happening in our world right now politically and racially. If I watched the news everyday, or God Forbid allowed my youngest(who has autism) watch it with us everyday it would be detrimental to his positive energy and lifelong dreams of just being.
What we definitely do not sugar coat in our home is reality and what is because let’s face it, life is not always rosy and people are not going to always like you, no matter how qualified you may be for a particular job or position, that is a fact. So as far as parenting, it is different for everyone, but especially parents of color. It is a whole different dynamic but necessary to prepare them when we are no longer here.
Now lets talk about virtual and remote learning and how this applies, when you are a parent of a special needs child with various sensitivities and sensory and/or cognitive challenges….need I say more? What worked for you this year? What didn’t work at all? What needed some serious work? So we will start with what worked, as far as school districts go and our journey.
- Zoom Meetings
- Daily Check- in with Teachers
- Assignments(some were optional depending on student and threshold)
- Openness to discussion from parents to teachers about assignment(length, type, more visuals, etc.).
- Mental Check-in from Teachers
- Ongoing services for special needs(as best they could, because of these circumstances in the world)
- Teachers need more education surrounding technology in a changing world, especially in world circumstances such as a pandemic.
- Communication needs to be better and not so choppy
- Assignments need to be more targeted towards the student, so that it is done on time and with enough instruction for them to learn.
- More Google Form questions to the parents of the students, so that there is more transparency as to what the student is doing or otherwise.
- More ART, More Types of classes that are hands on versus just videos and watching, and more DOING.
- More time with special needs service providers and how these services are provided, so that the special needs student not only remains engaged but that whatever they have learned sticks.
- More classes geared toward vocational electives in Middle School, rather than later in High School.
In Closing, I will say that all things in this world and time have happened for a reason. These are some challenging times and I hope that whatever you do with this time is purposeful, timeless and full of learning curves. Be Well and Stay Safe.