The biggest challenges I face with my #autistic kids on #COVID19 lockdown



If I need to approach homeschooling or online schooling this fall, it’s with the idea that it’s a stop-gap solution until we have a viable vaccine, and it’s reasonably safe for my kids to return to school.

At this point, I can’t see how returning to school is even going to be remotely safe. We already see new spikes in the States that pushed to reopen too soon (Georgia, I’m looking at you). Spikes are occurring in Ohio, even with a very slow reopen.

The last thing I want to do aside from endangering the lives of my kids is to finally get them into a routine, only to have to start over again by sending them back to school, only to have the schools shut down a second time due to the second wave that’s predicted to hit in September. I don’t see a viable path forward until we have an effective vaccine that’s widely available.

Am I overreacting? I honestly don’t believe I am. I posted a poll on Twitter that had 4500 responses. I asked parents if they were seriously considering at-home learning due to the COVID19 pandemic. 40% said they are not comfortable sending their kids to school in the fall, especially without a vaccine. The majority of the 60% that said they weren’t looking at homeschooling solutions were because they have to work. It’s not that they don’t agree, but they also have to feed their kids and pay their bills. I get it. This is a lose-lose situation.

I know that’s just a Twitter poll, but I was surprised by how many weren’t willing to send their kids to school this fall. If that’s even remotely accurate, that’s a huge shift.

Anyway, the absolute priority for me is to keep my kids safe and healthy. Lizze and I have been back and forth on this, and we can’t seem to find a workable solution that doesn’t put the kids at unacceptable risk. She’s currently researching home education options for me, and we’ll go from there. We are united on this, and I’m grateful for that.

COVID19 is not behind us yet. We are still very much in the thick of it. Human nature is to take a mile when we’re given an inch. As we begin easing restrictions, I genuinely fear what’s going to happen. As parents, we have to do what we feel is best for our families. These aren’t easy decisions, and I know many factors come into play while making them. All you can do is your best. I have a high-risk child, and that dramatically changes the calculus for me, as it does for anyone in that situation.

I have to take this one day at a time but keep an eye on the very near future. I have to think ten moves ahead because I do not want to be caught off guard.

7 comments

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    • Curtis G. on May 5, 2020 at 6:09 pm
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    Yes in our world we need money to live but you have to live to make money. It’s beyond me why people are protesting against the reality of the fact that not following social distancing, wearing masks and gloves and protecting the lives of yourself, your family and others supercedes monetary obtainment. The harsh reality is that people are dying in amounts that haven’t been seen in 100 years. Life is far more important than money. Money is paper, lives are precious. And I don’t want to get started on the fools partying on beach, house parties and strutting around with automatic weapons at protest rallies and waving nazi and racist flags. I had hoped some of us were better than that and we’d all pull together, instead of apart. And yes, I understand the fear of not being able to pay your rent, mortgage, buy food, etc. but your life and those of your family, friend and even people you don’t know is the main priority. Eventually, somehow you can obtain money but once a life is extinguished by this virus, that life is gone forever.

    1. Thanks Curtis. ☺

      • Wash Dinosaur on May 6, 2020 at 9:57 pm
      • Reply

      What Curtis? What about a gradual return to work while maintaining safety and sanitary practices? Just because someone wants to go back to work doesn’t place them in one of those groups you described nor does it mean they want to abandon safety and sanitary practices.

    • Jeannette Solimine on May 5, 2020 at 2:02 pm
    • Reply

    I totally sympathize with your predicament. Personally, I think you are doing a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances and are making necessary, though difficult, decisions to keep your family safe. My autistic daughter is no longer school age, but my younger immunocompromised severely disabled daughter still has one more year. We are in fairly strict quarantine to protect her and my husband who is well over 60. My autistic daughter’s routine has been totally destroyed, and we are trying day to day to deal with the changes. She is slowly adjusting but she always wants to know when she can go out again. She doesn’t understand that her going out and interacting would put her sister at risk even if her sister stays home. In Washington state, we are still shut down, but I live on the border with Idaho, which is starting to open up again. I’m very worried that not only will cases spike in Idaho, but they will increase here too. We’ve been lucky in that our county has had very few cases and no deaths. I pray for you and your boys. I pray they find a vaccine that works soon, as well as a treatment. Stay safe. Be well.

    • BJW on May 5, 2020 at 12:10 am
    • Reply

    It’s a good thing that you are looking at reality, and not some kind of “everything is going to be fine, let’s open everything wide up” optimism. Because there is zero evidence that shows that to be a good idea, even if we have idiots running the federal government and many states have obsequious governors. The majority of Americans still believe in sheltering in place. If we don’t have adequate testing capability, I don’t know how anyone can believe we can plan on reopening the economy. Because our economy requires enough people to be spending money and feel safe, and that’s not going to happen with a death rate heading for 100,000. (I suspect it will end up being much higher, as Trump isn’t going to do anything to actually help.)

    Maybe, just maybe, the regional coalitions of different states will be able to keep those of us in those states, from the worst case option. There are still plenty of states where they aren’t paying attention to the spread of the virus. I’m glad we aren’t in one of those. But I certainly feel upset over those states’ actions, and I would even if I didn’t know family or friends living in them.

    Anyway, for now, just keeping your family alive is the most important thing. Everything else can wait.

    1. I totally agree. On a side note. Part of me feels like the governors should be able to unite and do something about the current administration. Maybe that’s a bad idea but the governor is one person who manages the entire stare and is likely representing the majority of that States values.

        • BJW on May 5, 2020 at 12:43 am
        • Reply

        Well, impeachment was one of the legal remedies. Amendment 25 is one.The third is voting Trump out. Our founding fathers didn’t foresee that one whole branch of the government would allow the president to get away with everything, just because it was the same party. The governors can’t do it, although they largely control their individual states. I fear that the American idea of democracy is failing and that the US as a whole is on a decline. Every powerful country/empire has waxed and waned so I believe that is where we are as a country. This pandemic could’ve assured Trump of reelection if he had done it right, but he couldn’t stop thinking about the economy long enough. And none of his inner circle know enough, especially the ones that are influential. I hope I’m wrong.

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