myHana Blog

Original and curated information about autism and related conditions

Returning to School

For most parents with school age children, this is the time of year when parents are involved in the transition of their kids to a new school year. Of course, as we all know, 2020 is just a very different year.

While all of my four children are now adults (and I have two beautiful grandchildren), I do know many parents that have school age children diagnosed with autism that have serious concerns.

For those who live in school districts that have continued virtual learning, there are numerous challenges related to online learning. For example, the child is unable to get many of the services and support needed and included in his or her IEP.

How a parent maximizes the support his or her child gets through virtual learning is a serious question that each school district that has needs to answer.

And, what happens if the child’s parents can’t afford a computer and/or internet access?

For parents of autistic children who are returning to an actual school, there are equal but
different challenges.

  • How safe is the child and will the child adhere to the safety requirements imposed by the school?
  • Will the child be dealing with constant changes in terms of temporary school closings, friends getting the COVID-19 virus, teachers getting sick, and much more?
  • Will special education requirements by schools be met during the COVID-19 challenges?
  • What happens if my child gets the virus?

These are certainly challenging times and many of the questions a parent has to address just can’t be answered. However, there are many people, including MyHana team, that can help you get the best and most up to date information possible to help you make the best decision on critical issues impacting your child’s education.

Many national autism advocates are also concerned that public schools might slow down their requirements related to provision of support and services to students impacted by a disability.

With the significant costs that schools are incurring due to COVID-19, we do not want to have schools make up budget losses by cutting services to students with a disability.

Let your voice be heard if you see a reduction in services or support by talking to the school’s superintendent, as well as school board members, tell them your concerns.

If that doesn’t work, in terms of having your concerns appropriately addressed, send an email to your state’s department of education and let them know of your concerns.

As I tell my friends and family, things will hopefully become less chaotic and things will begin to settle down in terms of returning to some level of normalcy. If you or anyone is having trouble dealing with all that is going on, seek help by calling your local Mental Health Association or Mental Health program in your area.

There is nothing wrong with saying you need help during these challenging times. I know, as a 66-year-old dad and grandpa who has recently retired, I too have days when I wonder what the future holds.

With that being said, I do know that if we use this time as a way to reflect and learn, we will come out of this time period more equipped and better prepared for the future.

Written by: Scott Badesch

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