Hi to everyone this week….and what a week it has been!! I know for me, my anxiety has gone up a notch or two related to the pandemic and how it is going to affect our schools for the year.

The thing is, Elizabeth, my daughter with special needs, will not be affected by the plans for our local school system. She was affected by her college programs plans and as a direct result will not be going to her college program the semester. More on that in another blog!

But our neurotypical son, Michael will be affected… So we am waiting for the board meeting that is scheduled for tonight, to let our community in on what they see as feasible plans for re-opening the schools in late August.

The problem is that any plans made now, based on current virus data, can and probably will need adjusted as the data dictates. Another problem for us in Ohio, is that our county is in the”orange” zone which means we are one step away from red and that is when cases in our county are soaring…not good and so uncertain.

So even with all the uncertainty, I have to say that once your child’s school have a plan even if it is a little bitty plan. Now might be a good time to start writing down how your special need child has been doing through the summer related to their emotions, moods and things like that. I know there have been studies done that confirm the increase in anxiety and depression related to our current lives, so I know our special needs children, would be inclined to have more emotional needs as well.

So write down how they are acting, how they are eating or not, sleep changes, regression, changes to activity levels and more or less concerning behaviors. These are things that you should share with your child’s teacher this way the year can begin with a good understanding of where your child is. I just read an article about how to draw together the special needs team for your child. The team includes, parents or caregivers, educators, therapists and school administrators.

So by writing down all things you are helping the school to understand just where your child is as the year starts. This helps in bringing everyone to the same starting point.

I can tell you Elizabeth sure has emotional swings from all this! There are days when she tells me about her feelings pretty well and other days, she is stomping around the house while saying things like “I hate the virus, and I know I shouldn’t yell but I AM MAD!” this is all said while yelling. Her sensory issues arise a bit more now as well ( related to her sensory processing disorder/ SPD)

The fact is this whole emotional piece and concern for our children’s mental health is one big reason why so many people want to see their child back in school. I cannot begin to open up that can of worms here but suffice it to say, that debate will go on and on……

So as that debate rages, you can do your part to help your special needs child and their team whether your year is in person, blended or virtual.

I hope some of these thoughts help you as you see the school year coming at us all!

Please be safe and wear a mask. I do!, for my mom and others who could get very ill

Michele Gianetti