Healthy Living Blog – Heading Back to School with a Special Needs Child or Teen during COVID-19
Special needs students are usually placed in a special education program that fits their unique needs. School closures and the shift to remote learning have made it a challenge for special education students to receive their usual support services. This is because they are not able to see their teachers and therapists in person.
As schools begin to reopen, parents and caregivers may be worried about the quality of their child’s education if online instruction continues. They may also be worried about their child’s health if in-person instruction starts again. This is because children and adolescents with disabilities are at a higher risk of getting very sick with COVID-19. How can parents, caregivers, and special needs students cope with the stress that comes from these challenges?
Keep up with communication
- Talk to your child about COVID-19. Speak and interact with them using simple terms about the pandemic and how that has changed their routine. Give them time to express their responses and questions. Be sure to listen and answer them as best as you can.
- Contact your child’s school, teachers, and therapists to discuss how your child’s education and therapy services will look like for the new school year. This depends on whether your child’s school will be on a hybrid model or a distance-learning model. Ask how you can offer some of these services to your child.
- Contact your child’s primary care physician by calling or using telehealth services. Telehealth is using electronics to receive health care, such as doctor check-ups and therapy. Your child’s doctor can advise you on how to get your child’s equipment, supplies, and medications. Also, the doctor can help you plan and prepare for the event that someone in your household gets sick.
What you can do to comfort your child
- Create new routines. If COVID-19 has changed previous routines, make new ones with your child. This can include time for schoolwork, virtually talking with other family members and friends, and play time.
- Tell them that it’s okay to talk about their feelings. Staying at home may make your child’s feelings of loneliness and social isolation worse. Give them space to express these feelings and find ways for them to increase their interactions with others, such as phone or video calls.
- Be loving, calm, empathetic, and patient towards your child. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of change that your child is coping with. Accept their feelings of frustration and show them that you enjoy spending time with them so that they don’t feel like a burden to you.
Have questions or curious to learn more? Please reach out to our Health Center and make an appointment to speak with a doctor. AACI provides services in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and many other languages. Call (408) 975-2763 to schedule your appointment today!