Pandemic Distance Learning 2020: Parenting Survival Hacks (the Autism Version)

During synchronous learning with the teacher, don’t stress about having a Pinterest-worthy classroom. Leave that laundry right there. If little brother is yelling about having to pee, even better. Best to set that bar nice and low from the outset.

Finding your Halloween Monster magnet set with the phonics toys is a wonderful opportunity to learn about other cultures. Plus, fine motor skills are challenged pulling and pushing the magnets. Yup. You’re crushing it.

The consequence for non-participation in lessons is always going to be doing a chore. Don’t want to finish that math? Sweep the house. You finally get some domestic help and your child’s executive functioning skills just got a healthy dose of therapy.

Leave the Zoom call un-muted during the 15 minute snack break so the teacher can hear when you need to yell 15 times to get everyone to pick what kind of cracker they’re going to be eating. This is critical data for their next FBA assessment. We are not hitting our benchmark in 1 step instructions.

National Geographic shows are the equivalent of a substitute teacher and a science filmstrip. May utilize biweekly.

Vacuuming is large muscle work and counts as occupational therapy AND adaptive PE. Double dip and now the floors are spotless.

Mental health days happen just like a typical sick days. Sometimes, the swirling vibrations of autism will tear down your house. A family hang on the sofa with a Pixar movie is more effective than half of the counseling the school delivers. Extra mommy points if you serve popcorn. Which is full of fiber. Way to encourage healthy eat habits!

You cut up the child’s chicken nuggets at dinner. 3 nuggets turns into 6 pieces. BOOM. Fractions. Math is done.

Bestow yourself liberally with gift cards to Target and new coffee mugs. You’re also the “class parent” and who knows you need glitter bath bombs and Hershey’s Kisses more that you?

Homeshcool teacher, special education teacher, occupational therapist, speech/language pathologist, counselor, STEAM+ instructor…these are so many hats to wear, and you’ve already been doing so much. Be brave. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Your kids are with a loving parent and that counts more than everything.

So, the kids will be great.

You are totally going to crack up. Oh, guaranteed.

Now is the most important time to have even that one mom who you can text about any bonkers shit your kids pull. The are no women more fierce than a special needs mama bear whose friend has a problem. We will climb down into that hole and carry you out.

**I acknowledge that there are special needs dads out there who are working extra hard to support their kids education and their community. Hats off to you, gents!**

Published by Cynthia Zorabedian

I have always identified as a writer. My skills were honed early, writing poetry and research papers. Lately, my words have been used largely in passionate letters to the school district in which I advocate for the rights of my autistic children. My humor is my release from the stress of being a special needs parent and I'm finding so much joy in my new blog. I'm a Boston girl who now lives in Southern California with my husband and three sons.

2 thoughts on “Pandemic Distance Learning 2020: Parenting Survival Hacks (the Autism Version)

  1. “Don’t want to finish that math? Sweep the house.” – i am using this. My kids started telling me no they are not going to do their work. Ugh. I told them they need to be responsible for their own learning.

    Like

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