Some are coping well with working at home and are enjoying the flexible working pattern, learning tailored to their interests, alternative means of recording etc. Some pupils who are finding that the social distancing and clear rules about social contact quite reassuring. For those who struggle to leave the home, tolerate visitors and interact with people via any means other than in an online capacity, they have adapted with relative ease to the current climate. (Whilst we don’t know yet when the restrictions might be lifted or when schools may re-open, I think it is a fair assumption that some of these pupils will find the transition back to ‘normality’ quite problematic and it will be important to have a plan in place to support them with this.)
Naturally, some pupils are experiencing higher than usual anxiety levels given the current situation, others are struggling with the concept of completing ‘school’ work at ‘home’ when they usually keep the two completely separate. Please reassure parents that this is a worrying time for everyone and young people will feel this too. The advice I have been offering is that all we can do is try to reduce the anxiety that they feel and be there to listen and talk things through with them. Also that their health and well being is paramount.
Ultimately, parents will not turn into teachers overnight and whilst we make lesson plans and curriculum content available, parents are not expected to ‘teach’ their child in the same way that would take place in school. They may not have the time to fully support their children to the degree they would have in school. If they are meeting resistance when trying to complete school work, they could try to opt for less formal means of education and focus on social/ emotional targets and areas for development that they might not associate with ‘school’ in the same way. Activities can include things like: playing board games (taking turns/ losing and winning), watching TV shows and films and pausing to discuss/ unpick characters feelings and why they are behaving in a certain way, discussion around emotions- making faces in mirrors to show how it looks on their face, playdough faces to show emotions, reading books and discussing character emotions, understanding their diagnosis- strengths/ what people admire about them- make a presentation to share, developing social scripts for particular situations etc… the list is endless really and these are the things that potentially could be of great benefit! It might be worth encouraging parents to teach life skills like cooking, gardening if they feel more comfortable doing this to start?
Below is a document about Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs, as this provides insight into what must be in place for a young person to be in a position to learn effectively/ the basic needs that must be met first. There is another useful document to signpost parents to useful information.