Should your child with special needs go to school during this Covid pandemic?
Today I want to talk about if you have a child with special needs, how do you feel about letting them go to school during this pandemic with Covid?
Do you feel safe letting them go to school during this pandemic or no?
Ok, hold up.
First of all, let me back up a bit.
I want to start this first and foremost with a different question.
And that question is…….Prior to this pandemic with Covid, was your child going to school?
And if your child was going to school prior to Covid,......was it a public school?
Was it a private school?
Secondly, if your child with special needs was NOT going to school prior to Covid….
What were some of the reasons why you didn’t want them going to school?
Now for those of you who DID send your child with special needs to school,....
How did you feel about that? I’m super curious to know.
Were you grateful that your child had a chance to go and interact with other kids?
Were you nervous?
Were you always feeling like….”Oh I hope he or she is ok?”
How did you feel about letting your child go to school?
And for those of you who chose to not have your child go to school prior to the Covid pandemic….
Did you homeschool?
If so, how was that?
Did you and your child enjoy homeschooling?
Or was it something that you would rather not have done, but you just didn’t feel comfortable sending your child to school?
Or was homeschooling something that you would have done regardless?
I’m really curious about that.
As far as my kids…..as I mentioned before in earlier podcasts, both of my boys are non verbal as well as non mobile. So I REALLY did NOT want them to go to school at all.
I felt really worried and concerned that if anyone were to bully them….specifically Isaiah…..because he has more limitations than Josiah does.
Neither of them are able to use words, but Josiah is able to move about more whereas Isaiah doesn’t have very good muscle control at all….
SO I was extremely worried that if Isaiah went to school and he was getting bullied…...that he couldn’t even come home and tell me about it.
I mean….it’s not like Isaiah could run away or even walk away if someone started to bully him because he is in a wheelchair.
So I had basically decided back when we use to live in Portland, Oregon that I wasn’t going to have the boys go to school.
You know….there wasn’t much to think about.
Then, when we moved to Winlock, Washington and bought our house here…..almost 2 years ago, it was summer time and so school wasn’t in session.
But as it got closer to school starting…..our local school district reached out to us (because it’s such a small town) and wanted to know if we were going to have our boys going to school.
And I said “No, because they couldn’t walk or talk and that I was worried about bullying and that if anything happened that there would be no way that they could communicate that to me and I was genuinely concerned.”
And believe it or not, about 5 staff members of the school actually came out to our house and had a sit down meeting.
The teacher, the principal, the physical therapist, the speech therapist,...they all came to our house and we sat down and they interacted with Isaiah and they said how much they would love to have him and they really encouraged me to reconsider that decision.
And I said “Well. I don’t know. Isaiah chokes a lot on his own saliva and he couldn’t be sitting there in a sea of 30 kids….right? Because that just wouldn’t work.”
And they said “No, no, no. We wouldn’t have it set up that way. He would have his own aid sitting right there next to him so that way if he started choking, the aid could help him. Like if Isaiah started choking, then his aid could move his head forward so that he wouldn’t choke anymore.
They could take his hand and do hand over hand to play with a toy or to color or whatever it is they are doing in school.
So anyways…..long story short…...I ended up deciding to let Isaiah go to preschool.
This is just preschool. Ha Ha :)
So it was only 3 hours a day, 3 days a week and I was still nervous.
But ultimately, the ONLY reason why I decided to let Isaiah go to preschool last year….prior to Covid, was because they said that I could come at any point and I could stay there with Isaiah the Whole time or just part of the time. I could stay there for just an hour or for all 3 hours if I wanted.
I could come one day or I could come all 3 days. And I Really liked that idea that of being able to BE with Isaiah and meet the other students and see how they interacted and it just made me feel like that if anything happened to Isaiah….that it was ok, because I was right there with him.
And so I DID let Isaiah go to school last year for preschool and I was there quite a bit. I went every single day for the first 2 weeks and then I kind of backed off a little bit. So then I would just stay for an hour and sometimes I would stay for the whole 3 hours.
But in that process, I wanted to share with you that I am SOO glad that I did that because it turns out that Isaiah absolutely LOVES going to school!
Isaiah is totally a people person and he just loves all the social interaction he gets at school and everyone loving on him. And interestingly enough…..my whole fear about Isaiah being bullied turned out to be furthest from the truth because Isaiah is in a special needs class and because we live way out in the middle of nowhere…..there are only 6 kids…..Isaiah being one of those 6 kids, so it’s a really tight knit classroom and 4 of the kids are in wheelchairs and so there are only 2 kids that are actually able to walk and those two boys are Absolute sweethearts!!
And so, because I let Isaiah go to preschool and these kids…..all 6 of them got to know each other at such a young age….I realized that as long as we stay here in our little town and we don’t move, and we don’t have any plans of moving...then it’s kind of not the same as when you come in as an outsider, like in 4th grade or 6th grade and all the other kids don’t know you and so then they are picking on you or something like that.
You know it’s a completely different dynamic because when kids know each other, especially from a young age…...then it’s NOT “Who is that kid and what is wrong with him?”
It’s “Oh! That is Isaiah and he is our friend! Isaiah is awesome!”
So, I did want to share that even though I was genuinely concerned about Isaiah being bullied, and that he wouldn’t even be able to communicate that to me, if he WERE bullied…..but it turns out that the other kids are high level special needs kids as well. At least 4 of them are. And they are in wheelchairs, just like Isaiah is. And they are also not able to walk or able to talk either…...so very similar to Isaiah, although the other kids in his class have different conditions.
And like I said, it’s only 2 of the boys, in Isaiah’s class are able to walk and talk but both of those boys are just SOO, SOO sweet!
So anyways…...I hope that was helpful for you to see a different perspective incase you have been worried about sending your child with special needs to school.
Now, as far as Covid...
So I am curious…..regardless of whether you had your child going to school prior to Covid or not…..is that something that you would consider Now?
So, I have actually decided to go ahead and let both of my boys go back to school this year.
I know that there are a lot of schools that still aren’t even open, so it’s not even an option.
But the way that my boys’ school is handling the Covid situation, is they are having us parents sign a form everyday that our child goes to school. And the form states that our child does not have a fever or a cough or any other symptoms.
In addition, the school does a temperature check as soon as each child gets to school….right there at the door. So that way no child can even go in the school if they have a temperature.
And also all the staff wears masks…..so I feel like they have taken proper measures with spacing to help keep everyone apart but also to allow the children to be able to have some social interaction and still be able to learn in a classroom setting.
So my question for you is…...how do YOU feel with the idea of your child with special needs going back to school?
Are you nervous?
Do you feel ok with it?
What are your thoughts?
Because I know that if you have a child who has a low immune system….is it worth the risk?
I think, for us, because we live way out in the country…..in the middle of no where, and there are not many people even at my boys’s school…...I am not as concerned with sending my boys back to school and because my boys’ school are taking steps to ensure that everyone is healthy and doesn’t have a fever or any symptoms of being sick….
But my boys DO have a low immune system and so for the most part we have been keeping that safe at home and not really taking them out to any stores or restaurants or anywhere besides school or doctor appointments and therapy appointments.
So anyways….that is just wanted I wanted to cover for today. Something I would love to know your thoughts on about how YOU feel about your child going to school or not during this whole Covid pandemic.
If you would like to share your thoughts…..I would love to hear from you!
If you have a child with special needs, I would LOVE to invite you to join my private Facebook group strictly for parents who have a child with special needs.....to get the support, encouragement and connection that we ALL Need! So if you'd like to join....the name of my private Facebook group is called "Special Needs Parenting SOS". Looking forward to connecting with you! Have a great day! 😊👍💕 Just click this link if you'd like to join my private Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1187518441624603/