The COVID-19 Pandemic has resulted in the shutdown of many schools across the world, and mums around the globe have suddenly found themselves being the teachers for their children. This is challenging for all parents. Some Parents are trying to juggle a full-time job working from home as well as educating their children. However, when you have a child with special needs it adds a whole new level of complexity to the home-schooling.
Most children with special needs when at school are surrounded by a large range of qualified specialists such as occupational therapists, speech therapists, educational teachers, physiotherapists, behavioral therapists, nurses, and classroom aids. Together as a team all these professionals create the safe, and secure learning environment that special needs children need.
Although a special needs parent knows their child the best of anyone, they often have other children that need love and care as well. And when you bring home schooling into the daily routine, as well as the usual things parents have to do, it can get hectic. Suddenly Mum is wearing a lot of hats. She is a teacher, a nurse, a therapist, a cook, and washing lady. As well as potentially trying to work a full or part time job.
Tips to homeschooling with a special need’s child.
Plan your Day
Although there may never seen to be enough hours in a day, it’s important to plan your day. If you don’t you are likely to spend time running around with so much to do, but feeling like you aren’t achieving anything. Check lists and timetables are a great way to keep track, not only of up coming tasks, but also to enable you to see what has already been achieved.
Create a time table for everyone including yourself. You may be surprised…you might even have a few spare minutes to have some “me time”. Which you need every now and then…..especially in these challenging times. See timetable example below:
(please note this is just an example, and every family has different situations, and challenges)
Maddison is 13 and in year 8
Tommy has CP, can’t walk, or sit without special equipment. He has trouble communicating and has some sensory challenges. As he is also on the autism spectrum. He is 7 and goes to a special school so has the support he needs to learn.
Here is a daily timetable for their family during Covid-19 lockdown.
Keep to a routine
Kids are used to being kept to a routine during school time, so it’s important to try and keep to this. Especially for kids that are on the autism spectrum, they need routine to cope with day to day life. Below are a few tips on keeping a routine
- If attending school…or doing a school day at home, make sure they are dressed in uniform this will help the day feel a bit more normal, and they are more likely to corporate with schoolwork if in school clothes.
- Make a daily timetable (see the example above)
- Make sure you have, recess, and lunch and at their usual break times….and give them what you would usually give them when they go to school…..even use a lunch box to make it feel more like a school day.
- If you can its great for your child to see their teachers, and therapists over video conference
- Go through your daily timetable with your child at the beginning of the day so they know what is happening and when.
- Incorporate tick boxes or set up reminders to keep you on track, so your schedule doesn’t blow out
Remember times are tough for everyone, not only you as the parent. The best way to keep children positive and upbeat is to reward them when they do something correctly, or even if they get through the day without a meltdown, give credit where credit is due….it might be a simple as letting them watch some of their favorite movie, or some ice cream after dinner at night.
Most importantly look after yourself.
You need to look after yourself and your own sanity. Afterall without you being sane, the house wouldn’t run very smoothly. So be flexible and don’t be harsh on yourself, there is nothing more important then mental health. You may hate having dishes in the sink and shoes on the floor. However, if you have been going strong all day, and it’s a choose between the dishes and your braking point…. the dishes can wait. Go and sit down for a while and recharge.
And remember to call out for help if you need it. There will be family members or neighbors willing to help, and it has been said that on a matter of care you may have people around to help. Alternatively, call one of the numbers below:
Beyond Blue: 1300224636
Life Line: 131114