Article was published in mybaba.com: https://www.mybaba.com/special-education-needs-tips/
I’ve split this piece into three parts to give you time to absorb the words and try out the suggestions without feeling rushed.
It’s been a dramatic start to the decade. Perhaps this will be the decade of change and evolution we all need. Change starts with us as individuals and families. News of Covid-19 has swept the globe so rapidly, it’s hard to remember what was in the news before – let me remind you: Brexit, climate change, record floods. See? As human beings, we adapt through many difficult circumstances and live to tell the tale. Maybe this is a bit different, as it affects all of us; we can’t pretend it’s happening ‘over there.’
The impact on families is undeniably huge; especially for families who have a child with special educational needs. Children with EHCP’s (education, health and care plans) are a group who are considered ‘vulnerable’ by the government, and as such are invited to attend school during the Covid-19 outbreak. This is because if children have an EHCP, the local authority has a duty to deliver specific supports and services to enable these children to access an education.
Autistic children and young people are sensitive to atmosphere and mood. They will listen to your tone of voice, read your body language, and absorb all of the tension you feel. Try your best to keep your voice low and soothing. Answer questions using short clear sentences. Try not to tell them to be quiet, or stop asking questions – if you don’t know, say so. Or suggest that you will answer their question when you’ve found an answer or had a chance to think about it.
Listen to any worries they may have. Try to identify the cause of their anxiety – are they concerned about catching the virus, about something happening to a family member? Are they worried about things that are left at school? Or not seeing a special teacher? Try to respond to specific concerns. Refer to official sources if you need guidance on the facts. Use social stories to illustrate what’s happening in a simple way, such as how to wash your hands, what social distancing means.
Here’s a good example of a social distancing social story:
© Suzy Rowland
S.E.N.D. in the Clowns by #happyinschool project Founder, Suzy Rowland is out in July 2020. You can pre-order a copy here: http://www.hashtagpress.co.uk/shop