This school year is all about the virtual. To protect her from rising COVID cases, we decided that Lila should try virtual classes and virtual therapy. She started virtual therapy over the summer, but no one was prepared for how much harder this school year would be.
Basically, we turned our living room into a school/therapy clinic. We have a tower of rolling drawers with school and art supplies, books full of activities to do, a shelf with her educational toys, a wall calendar to keep up with her complicated schedule, and a corner full of bikes, balance beams, weighted balls, and other inside exercise equipment. We try to be prepared for whatever her teachers and therapists might need.
Her busy days look something like this:
8:00am - private therapy (OT or SP depending on the day)
8:30am - school circle time
9:00 - 11:00 am - work on school apps (TeachTown, etc.), independent playtime
11:00am - lunch
11:20am - school story time
afternoon - school therapy sessions (OT, PT, SP depending on the day) and playtime outside
She does all of her therapies by Zoom, school sessions by Zoom, and her school work on her iPad. The school uses some amazing apps to test her ability and progress in tackling her IEP goals.
And before you ask - yes, Lila's dad and I both work full-time, and we have to figure this out day by day! It has definitely been stressful. This delicate balance could only work with two wonderful employers, three very dedicated teachers, and five super patient therapists.
Some may doubt that she has learned much during this time, but we have taken it extremely seriously. Lila has been working on her alphabet; recognizing opposites, actions, and emotions; writing her name; drawing shapes and lines; cutting and so much more. She has become more interested in books, and she has learned a lot more about communicating with her talking device. She loves routines and shows us what we should be doing a lot of times. She is also sassy, so we have to use a reward system to do her therapy sessions. Her favorite thing may be that she gets to have her kitty cat by her side while she does all of this.
We are thankful that we all have remained healthy during this time and that we're afforded the ability to stay home. Lila is an "At Risk" person, and we have seen many sad stories and scary statistics of how COVID is affecting people with Down syndrome. We take the utmost precautions and are almost completely homebound except for essential things. Needless to say, we will be very happy when we can safely go back to work, church, and school! Lila is missing some hugs from her favorite people!