Life on Lockdown
By Daniella Daou
Special Needs Families in Times of Crisis
Household dynamics shifted as we entered new times where social distancing, online learning, and working remotely became the norm. With the new living conditions and constant negative news, anxiety and stress are bound to knock at our doors. Among the many challenges we are facing, the main psycho-emotional one is finding creative ways to cope with our stress. But what about children and individuals whose psychological and cognitive differences prevent them from properly processing their feelings?
Amal, a nurse and mother of two children with learning differences, continues to be positive despite the challenges because she is finally spending more time with her kids. Remaining optimistic, Amal keeps her young kids busy with learning the alphabet and playing with them. She struggles with her daughter’s frustration at staying inside the house; however, this has also brought the family together in an effort to find ways to relieve the little girl. What’s making Amal anxious, though, is her fear of transmitting diseases to her family after her shift ends.
Salma, mother to a boy with special needs, shared with us her strategy of coping with the sudden changes. “To maintain sanity”, as she describes it, Salma resorted to creating routines and staying organized. “Every day, we wake up in the morning, get dressed, meet in the kitchen to have breakfast, start with the homeschooling until noon, then dedicate time for activities in the afternoon.”
Salma agrees with Amal that frustration and anger have increased during quarantine, but they are both accepting this reality. To destress, Salma and her son have a daily pre-bed dance party!
“There is added pressure for me to not only be his educator at home but also his therapist, which I am not seeing as realistic with my job.” This challenge that Salma shared is the case of many parents who are struggling to find the time for their children’s home schooling, therapy, and activities, and their own working hours.
The SKILD team is working closely with parents and children to support them through weekly worksheets and schedules, online sessions, and pre-recorded videos. This is also followed by a social media campaign giving tips regarding children, teenagers, and parents to equip the special needs community to better respond to the needs of the children. Parents are also currently being encouraged to get their free copy of SKILD’s Wise Parenting pocketbook which has more than 60 tips on daily struggles parents face with their children.
For more information on the Wise Parenting book, go to: https://skild-edu.org/wise-parenting/