After some time to adjust, Eddie started getting remote instruction. He has a very robust schedule when he’s attending in person at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. We obviously can’t pull that off at home, so his teachers reached out in an effort to discover what was reasonable for our family during this time. Also, what was a healthy expectation for Eddie.
They came up with a schedule of 1-2 live activities per weekday that were familiar to him from school and also sent additional routines. The live events included morning check-in three days a week, a braille matching game, a tactile/ sensory game called “Spin the Wheel”, weekly review, and a technology lesson. We were sent an image of the set-up from school, instruction for each activity, and materials. The plan was to have us log into Zoom from home and meet virtually with his teacher, teaching assistant, and any other staff typically involved.
When they reached out to us during their planning week and shared their ideas, I was skeptical. When Eddie is home, as I’ve shared before, he has minimal structure. If it isn’t a preferred activity, we can be challenged to convince him to participate. I’m not saying we don’t have high expectations, it can just be a battle to motivate him to engage in our suggested plans. With teachers virtually coming into our home, and witnessing what could be a struggle, I wasn’t only skeptical, but I was nervous.
However, when the first event rolled around, which was “Spin the Wheel,” he was all smiles. He grinned and laughed when he heard familiar voices, jumped right in, and essentially taught us how to play since we’d never seen it done. I thought about all the kids in all their homes having a similar moment with their teachers, and I was brought to tears.
Building relationships with Eddie takes time, patience, and perseverance. Hearing these professionals from their own homes, sidelining whatever was happening in their lives, spending quality time with my son…well, it just meant a whole lot. As I continue working full-time from home, Eddie’s Dad is supporting his learning. Every time I walk by or overhear a lesson, I get choked up.
Our kids may be some of the hardest to educate during this time, and by stepping up, teachers are demonstrating it’s possible and raising the bar for others. This isn’t a time to admit defeat and say it can’t be done. It’s a time to recognize our kids deserve instructional support, too, in whatever way we can provide it. Thank you to educators coming into our homes…online…and sharing your life with ours.