All of a sudden parents, teachers and children are having to cope with the new reality of being at home all the time. For those with special needs it is especially difficult for the following reasons:-
- school routines gone
- restricted movement
- difficult in cognitively understanding what it is all about
- not knowing when the end will occur
Undoubtably, this places stress on everyone. Here are a few tips that may help.
- Establish daily routines – with a mix of the following – short brief sessions of
- Daily lessons – depending on concentration spans – maybe 20-30 min sessions with frequent changes . This is usually best done in the mornings when the children are more receptive.
- Intersperse with play activities using the words ” First work, then play”
- Make it fun – do physical games , board and card games, whatever you child likes
- Creative and Physical Activities – this usually happens in the afternoons and can make for longer project sessions. Youtube is a great source of ideas. But incoporate a long walk into it. Maybe 45- 60 mins even if it’s just round the block it will allow much need exercise and oxygen to enter the blood stream
- Make things out of junk
- Write a play or act out a story
- Use apps and other online methods
- Draw and paint from still life
- Gardening – teaches science, plant growth, nature – birds, butterflies ( as summer comes)
- Cooking – provide opportunities for Maths and Science
- … and much, much more.
Above all, keep a sense of humour. As a parent or paid carer or just a friend these days can be long – very long without structure. So make a visual timetable. Make cards that can taken down and put up. Allow one ” surprise ” activity in a day. This could be a way to cope with unexpected change which in most cases be difficult for children. But turn it around into a positive:-
” OK, we are not going to the park today because…….. so instead we have a surprise! It’s going to be your favourite film, story, songs, etc. ”
As the main source of all things – energy, knowledge, manager, disciplinarian, general dogs body and gofor person- you will need to keep your physical and mental strength up. Have down times. Short periods of being alone, quiet, even rest periods for your child if they are young where you can get on or I recommend doing at least one thing for YOU – and you alone in the day that can make you feel a person and not a activities co-ordinator.
In effect this lockdown will restrict what you can do and getting angry and frustrated over not getting work or jobs done will communicate to your child that you “have more important things to do” and make them kick off to get your attention.
Best to accept that you can’t work and look after the kids. That your child will not occupy themselves for long without someone getting hurt or upset. Best to keep the show rolling. Share the load with your partner or better still some help and support from friends, support assistants and personal assistants if any of that is possible so that you can do the work you feel you need to do.
Finally , what inspired me to write this today is that I came across this article. Although American it does have advice that is relevant in the UK and Europe, etc. Follow the link below. I hope this has been helpful. I hope to put some resources and ideas out there over the next few days and weeks to help from an ICT point of view. Always know – you are not alone, even though it feels like it!