The sun always shines – it’s a metaphor, and far more. Our Monday, Tues, Wed and Thurs of Coronavirus Week Three saw our first full week of remote learning from our day program. Loosely structured, we do 2x/ Zooms – a morning meeting, and an exercise class, with purposeful, fun activities in between.
Structure! schedules! sanity!
Both group Zooms are wonderfully facilitated by the staff, although the boys need 1:1 or close to it support to respond to questions relating to time – what did you eat last night for dinner? – and to imitate exercises. Thankfully since repetition is our savior, the format is working.
Although it makes me feel guilty – that old tape of Mom always has to super-structure and direct their moments toward learning – we allow the boys an hour or two of unstructured “stim time” as both parents triage work and answer essential emails nearby. We push independent ADLs like toothbrushing and bed-making with minimal assistance. We facilitate a shower, maybe fit in a lightly guided activity, and greet our most wonderful two helpers who arrive to support Morning Meeting.
As weather supports, we segue usually to a walk for Dunkin iced coffees, as part of our 100-mile challenge. That’s one of the most superb activities of this time. It’s only day 12 and the guys are at 40.8 miles!
My lead helper, an OT assistant working on her OT license, always comes with crafts and fine-motor building table time activities. Then Exercise Class, and free time as Mom and Dad do more emails, and we transition to possible additional neighborhood walk, and help with dinner.
Autism, at least our variant, demands overt structure and consistency. I read so many heart-rending accounts of kiddos who aren’t adjusting, and are in such pain, and even bridge to self-injury because they can’t make sense of these unnerving times. None of us can. I pray for them, and I give immense thanks to the universe that somehow, we are balancing on this tippety ship through newly charted waters – and lifting our faces to be kissed by the sun.