Parenting a Special Needs Child During COVID-19

Parenting any child during the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a challenge, especially for those parents who are working full time from home. Across Texas, Governor Abbott closed all schools for the remainder of the year. So where does that leave the kids across the state as far as education is concerned? Homeschooled by a parent who is already stressed, low patience, and exhausted. However, the schools and teachers are still able to provide a lesson plan and assist with the students learning, right? Actually, wrong — for a good portion of parents and students.  

The Struggles

Special needs students with Individualized Educational Plans are not being supported. Arlington Independent School District sent out a standard letter to all parents of special needs students that said, essentially, that they are trying, and to please be patient. They will figure out how to help students learn when they have time. So now, not only are some parents working from home full time with a house full of kids, they are also having to figure out what their child knows and what they do not, finding the material to utilize, and the resources necessary to teach their child to the best of their ability. This is a full-time job in itself. Many parents are in the position where they are having to decide between their child’s education or a roof over their head. 

Not only are those parents of the special needs children having to figure out education, they are also having to figure out how to get their child the therapy that is needed. For example, an autistic child who is normally in physical, occupational, speech, and applied behavior analysis therapies and is able to get the services they need to function, is not faced with a tremendous amount of pent up aggression and inability to fully understand and comprehend their emotions. They have gone from getting the interaction that is so important to their well-being to getting little to none, in a matter of days. This is causing an increase of the anxiety and self-harming behaviors that ultimately lead to more severe behavioral concerns and even tragedy.

Now, after being closed for about a month, part of Texas is beginning to open back up. But for parents of a child with special needs, that does not mean much. The inability of your child to understand the magnitude of this virus makes it even scarier as a parent. Knowing your child will disregard all “social distancing” and putting everything they see in their mouth, can cause anxiety like you have never experienced. One wrong move, and your child’s and family’s health could be in danger. So, the best option of staying at home even longer, means more aggression and pent-up anxiety in your child. 

Be Kind to Others

COVID-19 does not care what your reasons are for needing a break and a little normalcy in your life. Staying home is difficult in the country as a whole, but for those who have an extra special kid at home, it is more exhausting than you may realize. You do not always know what someone is going through at home. Be nice to one another, be kind, and give love as much as possible. 

If you need any kind of help during this time, don’t hesitate to contact a family lawyer, like a family lawyer in Arlington, TX, today. 

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm for their insight into parenting a special needs child during the COVID-19 pandemic.