Long before COVID-19 caused social isolations, families with a child with special needs had already experienced it on a daily and weekly basis. Too often family members have chosen to not be part of special gatherings, birthday parties, restaurants, movies, or Disney World, as it is never known when or if a meltdown will take place. It is far easier to avoid those situations, which too often brings critical judgements on their parenting skills. But with all schools being closed, along with the programs with much needed therapies and special classes, today’s COVID-19 restrictions have forced families deeper into isolation and ending all social interactions.
Any child finds wearing a mask hot and bothersome, and breathing can be more difficult. Imagine a non-verbal child being forced to wear one at a much-needed grocery store trip. I have a friend that solved that problem by ordering masks of a dog and cat face. It was truly delightful to watch this little boy bark or meow at fellow shoppers. It is said that “Necessity is the mother of invention”. You have the necessity…now get out there and invent!
“I am the Parent of an Exceptional Child with special needs. What are my Super Powers?” This can be a mantra…or a snappy comeback to the insensitive, impatient individual that asks you, “Can’t you control your child?”. You have earned your cape!
Online learning is difficult for everyone. Being the parent of a child with medical or emotional challenges can be overwhelming for everyone involved. Therefore, it is critical that self-care is priority. We all have different levels of resiliency, which is measured by your ability to bounce back and cope. It is suggested that you make priorities that are scheduled on a daily basis….even for just a few minutes Getting enough sleep, nutritional eating, regular exercise, and doing activities that give you pleasure. A hot bath, long shower, reading a book (or a magazine), binge-watching a series, isn’t selfish. It is proving to yourself that you deserve it.
This special time is a learning experience for everyone. I am a life-long fan of Maya Angelou. This is a perfect quote for all of us. “Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.” We all are learning as we go every single day. Be kind and loving to yourself as you learn to deal and overcome all the difficulties during this challenging time. You got this!