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Uncharted Territory: Special Needs Classrooms In the Fall



It is almost THAT time's quickly approaching. It's creeping up on us quicker than we think. It is right around the corner. It will be here before we know it...


As you probably do too, I have SO many unanswered questions swirling around in my head.

It all begins with the basic questions:

* What will post-pandemic school look like for Nolan in the fall?

* Will there be social distancing?

* Will there be a staggered schedule?

* Will Nolan's district have full-time, in-person classes?

* Will his school have an option for remote learning?

Oh my, the uncharted territory we face ahead of us.

BUT all of those questions and concerns dig much deeper for a parent of a child with Autism.

The aforementioned questions are JUST the beginning!

With Covid-19 still out there, now my questions about a child with special needs attending school most definitely double, POSSIBLY EVEN TRIPLE, due to the fact that Nolan has Autism.

* Should I think about home-schooling Nolan? Is that the best option for him? The worst option?

* If there is some form of social distancing in his school, will his special education class have distinct, unique rules regarding social distancing?

* Will he understand that social distancing is required in school?

* Will he understand why he must adhere to the social distancing rules?

* Even if he DOES understand, will he follow the social distancing rules? What will happen to him if he doesn't follow them? Most times, Nolan LOVES to be close to people around him!

* Will he feel as if he is not being accepted because he won't be able to get close to his teachers and friends? If so, how do I explain this to him so he feels comfortable?

Oh my, the uncharted territory we face ahead of us.


The questions continue on...

* Will Nolan receive any, and all, services listed in his IEP?

* Will school suggest we change his IEP due to the virus?

* Will he be required to wear a mask? What? No way! He doesn't like wearing socks...or clothes for that matter! Nolan won't even wear a band-aid if he has an open wound! And you want him to wear a mask for a long period of time? Yikes!

* If social distancing rules are applied in the classroom, will he wonder, "Why don't my teachers want to be around me?"

Speaking of social distancing,

* What about bus rides to and from school? Will Nolan wonder, "Why don't friends want to sit by me?" Will this make him unhappy?

* Who will help him with his bathroom hygiene and toileting while he is at school? This is a HUGE concern of mine! How will this look with some form of social distancing in place?

* Will the district suggest we decrease the amount of speech therapy minutes at school? Improving his speech skills is now, and has always been, my #1 concern.

* Will his adaptive PE class be canceled indefinitely? Oh no, please no! Nolan needs to be able to let IT out! By "IT" I mean his energy!

* Will I see a regression in his motor and social skills if there is no gym class?

Since we are on the topic of extra-curricular activities,

* What about Music and Art class? Will that look different now too? Music is therapeutic for Nolan. Please don't take that away!

Oh, the thoughts and fears I have...they are swirling around my brain as I write this.

Oh my, the uncharted territory we face ahead of us.

It all boils down to this...

In a post-pandemic world, will our precious, special children get the much needed physical, emotional, educational, and psychological care they need to be able to successfully obtain and achieve their goals with so many unforeseen changes in the school setting?!?

ALL of these questions and concerns have occupied my thoughts for some time now...with no answers. I have had nothing but time to think about what the new "normal" will look like.

All we can do is lean on each other for support during these trying times and know for certain that ALL of our questions regarding the return in the fall will be due time.

Fears and anxieties are commonly linked to the unknown. The unknown will soon become the known.

I will just have to face these issues as well as many other post-pandemic issues as they arise...face them head-on. We all do!

We need to keep in mind...

Soon the uncharted territory will be charted.

Autism parents, have you had any of your questions about he upcoming school year answered yet? DO SHARE!!

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