When my son, Eddie, is home for days without structure or routine, he becomes a hot mess. We get nervous gearing up for spring break every year. Last week, before the world stood still, we even had his teacher and speech language therapist pay us a home visit to help set-up a schedule for unstructured days. They gave us tactile symbols for his favorite restaurant and shopping establishments…and now those can’t even be used.
Like many of you, we see an unknown amount of days in isolation ahead of us. Yesterday, my son found great joy in listening to recordings from his classroom and classmates and I teared up knowing he wouldn’t see them again for a while. As he cheered on his friends while listening, and requested more of his favorite classroom “episodes,” my heart broke as I contemplated the days ahead.
As a child who is blind, autistic, and has unique communication styles, explaining what is happening in the world is near impossible. He still expects spring break to end this weekend and life to resume as normal come Monday. Conveying the changing tide will be no easy task.
My two daughters will take this in stride. They’ll do their online learning, they’ll read one hundred books, they’ll teach us one hundred and one card games, and they’ll also binge watch some shows. We might see meltdowns and tears on occasion, but they can cope. I’m not sure how Eddie will. We see meltdowns and tears on a typical Saturday, so I anticipate his behavior will escalate, and we’ll do the best we can.
To those of you in my boat, or with kids that will have trouble weathering this storm, my thoughts are with you. I know I’m not alone and I’ll look to your words of encouragement or empathy on Facebook and beyond as we do the best we can. I’m so grateful for the teachers and educators already providing materials online and brainstorming ways to help us all. Our teachers may work harder in the weeks ahead than they ever had before…and many of them will do it with their children at home, too.
So, be well and be safe and expect me to post more often during this time. FamilyConnect has always been my therapy, and I may need it now more than ever. We all may be physically alone, but with our online communities, we don’t have to be isolated.