In this morning’s Winston-Salem Journal is a report from the Associate Press entitled “Virus lockdowns an extra ordeal for special-needs children.”
Tomorrow will begin the seventh week of “homeschooling” here in my household (and in North Carolina), and having a child with a developmental delay as well as autism has made this period of time rather insightful.
Reading that report referenced earlier makes me think about what has been the most pivotal part of my son’s at home learning experience – the backyard. When the weather permits (and we have been blessed with having some great weather), he spends a great amount of time on his swing set, the one we purchased with winnings from a raffle sponsored a few years ago by my school’s athletic department.
Yes. There’s divine irony in that. An event to help fund sports projects at my high school literally gave my son the very thing that is helping him cope with his middle school having to shut down its buildings.
Social distancing is not a concept that my son picks up on easily. His routines and methods for navigating the world cannot necessarily keep up with a sudden change in how people behave around each other. He cannot police his movements in today’s pandemic like I can or other typical people.
Having that room in the backyard to move and mingle and just not be subject to any new “guidelines” has been incredibly helpful in this pandemic.
As I type this, he is out there. Sun shining, body exercising, breathing fresh air, being near the flowers and plants that are beginning to show some growth. We have not planted flowers or seeds in years. It seemed like a good idea this year.
And I am grateful for the fact that we have a yard for our kids. Many families do not have that. I truly feel for those people who must be more confined because of their living situations and their need to stay safe.
I hope it makes all people aware that there are so many different ways for different people to actualize and navigate in this world. We as a society need to honor that – especially in our schools.