Archives for posts with tag: Sensory processing disorder

Michael was talking to me yesterday and said something that I think really sums up his time off. We were driving to take him to an appointment and I mentioned that his school is now starting in September instead of mid August. Due to, of course, the Coronavirus.

I just finished telling him about it and he said, ” I have another month off but it’s weird Mom, the summer went so fast but so slow at the same time.”

And that my friends is really the truth of this whole thing isn’t it. As much as it seems like a long time we have been at this, sometimes it feels so much shorter.

We have all worked out way through many emotions since late February from panic and anxiety to current day disbelief that many STILL do not follow safety protocols simply because they do not want to. And somewhere in all that we ended a school year with our children facing the computer and interacting with their teacher and friends instead of in person.

Now, we are all facing the start of a new school year that has almost as many uncertainties than last year if not more.

There is one common thing, at least in my opinion, and it is the need to help your child with special needs (and typical children) start the year off as organized and calm as is possible amidst this pandemic.

Here are 4 easy tips to use during this school year:

  1. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CHILD ABOUT GOALS FOR THE YEAR

I say this one because I know what MY goals and hopes are for Elizabeth, but I shared in a blog prior, that they were NOT her goals now. Truly, at the age she is she SHOULD have a say in her goals, but in truth, all typical children have a say in their plans or choices ( some have bigger says than others). From the sport they like, to the after school activities ( pre- COVID) so if neurotypical children can have this say, then it serves to logic that our special needs children should get to have the same…to their best ability. It was truly eye opening to hear Elizabeth’s goals and I was grateful to know them and try to help her meet them.

2. HELP THEM PLAN A WORK SPACE

Face it, trying to learn with the blender going, a sibling talking and the T.V. on can be super challenging for some and for other silence is the enemy. It really is all about the child and their needs and ways of learning. So plan out a place that fits their needs best and designate it as their schoolwork spot. Now in COVID, what was a great space may be commandeered by a sibling etc. So maybe take a peek at available spaces that may work and go from there. I know Elizabeth wants to be alone and in a quiet room with me when we work but changes the room depending on her mood.

3. HELP THEM PLAN THEIR SCHOOL DAY

My beautiful typical developing son, Michael showed me just how well a greatly motivated middle schooler could polish off a weeks worth of work to get to freedom early during the quarantine So there’s that option but that one leads to a crammed in day, hurried work and less processing of information. So a few, nice conversations later, Michael was part of planning a schedule for work that did not include the finish line by Monday night.

It helps our children to have a schedule of their days and work to help them prioritize, plan and process their work. And for those with special needs, it helps them plan for the work and transition between challenges.. I know Elizabeth WANTS to know what work she will be doing each day. Even if your child is home with you, a plan helps everyone stay organized and shows where there is time to put in a walk, some fun thing or simple downtime

4.PLAN A TIME TO CHECK IN WITH THEM

Sure they could literally be at your kitchen table all day. Or home from school for hours. But checking in with them means checking in on emotions, how they are coping, their anxiety or concerns. Just because your child, special needs or typical “look” ok doesn’t mean they don’t have something to share or talk about. This is especially so during COVID.

Making time to check in is, in my opinion, critical. Michael and I call it “hanging out for a while” and Elizabeth calls it “chat time” Whatever its term, it is really important.

Time for school is upon us in some form…so a bit of planning can help instill a bit of peace.

I hope everyone has a safe, peaceful week.

Please wear a mask. I do for my mom and others who could get really ill.

Michele Gianetti

As I write this, I am sitting in the car outside the dentist’s office.  Michael and Elizabeth are both scheduled for their routine visits. Their first one since the pandemic began.

I apparently scheduled them for the same time, 10:00, good for me, as that means they both go in at the same time, get done at the same time and I don’t have to sit in the car as long (sorry I know it is not all about me, but it is a good thing!).

However, Michael got called in first and that left Elizabeth waiting for “someone to get me”, and we are going on 10 minutes now.  She is all masked up and waiting.

Anxiety in increasing as the time she is waiting, she says she isn’t but her fidgeting is telling me another story.  So is her talking about the next things today, like making sure she can talk about what she can hold onto….

This type of thing is the reality of the struggle that our children faced prior to Covid but face even more now.  We prepare them but the reality is that they will face changes in plans, waiting times that are more than we thought or situations that fall short of what we told them to expect.

The preparation we did was great, she has a mask on, has sanitizer and knows that she has to social distance ( that means in her words “keep your distance”). I even called early in the morning to confirm that they would go in together.

But things happen and life steps in.

This is a small bump in the plan, not a huge crisis, but it illustrates my point that the increased anxiety our special needs children feel upon navigating this new normal is valid…Really valid!

I put on some soundscape music for her and we talked about how she was feeling.  We did some deep breathing and positive affirmations that she likes.  I have to think to offer that having some of these things at the ready might be a good idea along with perhaps a calming sensory item ( see our store for ideas)

 She told me that it is tough waiting and I don’t know what to do when I get in there.

Again, I really can’t tell her what to expect as I only know what I was told (my appointment isn’t until September, so I have no first-hand experience to rely on).  This helps but only a little.  I have learned getting to the event or experience is to lessening anxiety.  Sometimes it’s the only way! But it once again proves my point that each new experience in the new normal most likely will elicit similar feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. 

So best to recognize it and prepare as best as you can.

Thankfully, the dental assistant arrived at our car window to take her in…this is their protocol.

She exited the car, had to fix her mask as it was below her nose, and in she went.

Once experience down….

I hope you are all having a peaceful week and staying safe.

I am wearing a mask for my mom and those who could get really ill.

Michele Gianetti author of:

I Believe in You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey

Emily’s Sister

Elizabeth Believes in Herself: The Special Journey Continues

%d bloggers like this: