Last month I opened my letter by saying how we were looking forward to going back to school in a “normal” manner. How quickly things changed. I think we were all feeling like we were reaching normalcy this summer when the pandemic reared its ugly head with a vengeance. If there is one thing we have learned over this last year and a half, it is to expect the unexpected.
Something you CAN expect is Eastern Shore Parents publishing our September “Special Needs” issue! This issue is dedicated to families who have children with special needs, and we love helping locals find the resources they need whether the diagnosis is mild or more serious.
This is why each September we include the Special Needs Resource Guide. Like all of our directories, this is truly a community effort. Businesses, organizations, parents and relatives continue to share stories and resources with us each year. The guide is filled with therapists, financial resources, recreational activities, support groups and more.
After years of publishing this particular directory, our family found itself referring to it after a struggle one of our daughters was experiencing. Our daughter is a teenager who is very driven academically, and makes great grades. However, during the virtual schooling of spring 2020 and the oddness of the start of school last year, she began to display some new frustrations with her schoolwork. We would find her in her room crying because she “could not finish” her work. This was not typical at all.
In talking with her, she relayed she was not having trouble understanding the work, but struggling to stay focused long enough to complete the work. What would normally take her 30 minutes was now taking her hours. We decided to make a call to investigate things further.
After some testing, the diagnosis did come back with ADHD. It was interesting to discover that the reason these signs had not shown up earlier was because some of her routine behaviors, like studying with her friends pre-lockdown, were simply coping mechanisms to help her focus. I used to joke about how much studying she would really get done studying with friends, but she was actually unconsciously “body doubling”, a tactic used to help her focus.
Some people with ADHD find it helpful to work with an accountability partner… or even just have someone in the room with them. Fortunately, she is back on track and has learned some great ways to help herself when she needs it. If you have a teen with ADHD, I encourage you to read Five Expert Tips to Help Teens with ADHD, by Cheryl Maguire.
While we are on the topic of the “oddness” of the past year and a half, I urge you, if you or someone you love is experiencing changes in behavior or mood, please reach out to your pediatrician, doctor, school counselor, therapist or other specialist to help find the answers. There is no need to suffer when there is help.
In our effort to continue providing helpful resources to families who have special needs, we have also included Sarah Lyons’ feature, How to Prepare for Your Child’s IEP Meeting. Some families who have children with special needs may be facing concerns regarding their child’s development and education.
Your school or physician may even suggest an IEP(Individualized Education Plan). IEPs are coordinated efforts between the family and the school system to devise a plan to help the child in the school environment. If this is something that has been mentioned to you or something you would like more information on, it’s time for you to read the How to Prepare for Your Child’s IEP Meeting.
As always, thank you for reading Eastern Shore Parents. We hope you find this issue helpful, informative, entertaining and uplifting. We wish you a joy-filled and special September!