Fintan O’ Regan has worked in the field of supporting students with Neurodiversity for a number of years. As well as being a specialist Dyslexia teacher, I have a personal interest in helping individuals with anxiety and have in the past shared my own experiences with an aim of helping others.
When Fintan and I got talking about how children were experiencing difficulties during lockdown, none more so than children with Dyslexia, ASD and ADHD, we knew that we’d like to offer some webinars to help support students, their parents and teachers.
The first of our webinars will take place on May 28th 2020. We’ll have an opportunity for Q & A and Fintan will talk about how children and their families are presently experiencing difficulties during lock down. He will talk in relation to education and life in general.
Going back to school whether it will be in June, July or September will be a time for uncertainty and stress for all children but particularly for those with neurodiverse traits.
In this 2nd presentation, on June 30th 2020, we will address some of the concerns but also consider some of positives that returning to school will have for children and young persons in lockdown.
Areas to be covered will include
- Learning in the new normal
- Concerns about safety and security at school
- Expectations regarding behaviour particularly with regards to social distancing
- Friendships and peer relationships
- Neurodiversity, dealing with the adults
Georgina Smith at CodeBreakers
We know for many children, simply the question of “what will school and staff look like” during social distancing and possibly wearing PPE, will be a big enough change to increase anxiety. Some children will have changed schools and not had the opportunity to even familiarise themselves with the environment of their new setting.
Some children will have not experienced a formalised, structured day for many months and this change in routine will increase anxiety. Now having to sit at a desk for the school day may be a new challenge, understanding that time is now structured again. Timetables and routines may now be different and this can increase anxiety as they try to embrace changes. Class sizes may be smaller and they may not be with their friends. Others will be worried about unstructured school time, how will that look and feel.
We are still not sure if the return to school will be full time and the mix of a structured day at school and unstructured time at home may be a challenge for many. Parents will still be struggling with this and the pressure of knowing what is enough or too much study at home. I know there must be constant comparisons to other siblings and parents posting their achievements on social media. The expectations of home learning and parents struggling to motivate and become teachers themselves, is a struggle for many. We know for many parents there is a real concern that their child has ‘lost’ valuable time in education. None more than a child with educational needs. We know that you’ve struggled gaining the specific support needed and have concerns what that will look like as your children returns to school.
Some students may have a very different perception of what social distancing might mean for them. We know for individuals with ASD, this may be very ‘black and white’ and they may find it difficult when others don’t understand their needs or breach their personal space. They may try to impose their ideas of social distancing on others.
On a positive note, a return to education may be beneficial. Some students will find the stimulation from peers and learning support staff is what’s needed. Others may have adapted to new IT skills and found new skills. Some children will have take a rest from the pressure of a structured education system, found new ways of learning and new interests.
Our third webinar, on July 28th 2020, will look at the positives of neurodiverse traits and consider the future, aspirations, education and employment.
Read about Part 1- Home Education During Lockdown
Parents and professionals will be assured a warm welcome. We Hope you can join us.