Nothing could have prepared me for that day - it has to have been the worst day of my life ever with my son, Danny.
For 10 years we have dealt with: HIS POOR VISION, ADHD, IMPULSIVENESS, SENSORY, ANXIETY and SELF ESTEEM. I considered myself quite proud that we had a "check" next to most of those items on the 19th April 2020.......
Perhaps parents are afraid to talk, to show their weaknesses, to be troubled, to show that their life and their family isn’t perfect, arent normal? Well I am not. My life is often not normal, I have the biggest project on my hands BUT I have my bigger success story hiding behind my successful Boost shopfront. I want everyone to know that my daily struggles are often beyond anything imaginable. I want people to know that MY life isn’t glamorous and perfect like the Shopfront seems. What I go through at home from 5pm most days challenges my mental health to the MAX.... but makes my job seem so simple.
SO MONDAY WAS D-DAY - IT WAS CORONAVIRUS BACK TO SCHOOL ONLINE.......
I consider Danny to be quite tech savy. He is smart. He achieves excellent results at school. There was no reason for me to be concerned about anything.
It never crossed my mind and I never considered the requirements and implications of online schooling for HIM.....
I think I forgot he was UNORGANISED, HIGHLY DISTRACTED, IMPULSIVE and HAS POOR PLANNING SKILLS...............
I completely underestimated the importance of these skills, perhaps more important now in hindsight... It shows you that to be "smart, tech savy and have good results is just not enough any more".
I think I was too comfortable with having strict boundaries and structures at school and even more routine at home.
So Monday starts:
*click this *look for this worksheet *message here with work amendments *you still need to download this *cant find the worksheet, its not there *message the teacher *the class chat in teams start *10 messages come down in the system *the phone is buzzing *whatsapp messages are coming in *another chat for another subject starts *a live meeting starts *he doesnt join as he doesnt know about it, so he misses the meeting *email arrives to download some further items which havent been done *there is a notice to change from a team meeting to a zoom meeting *the teacher responds to say the worksheet has been loaded *he realises he is now in mainstream for a 3rd language which he started 6 months ago *we flip to that subject but still cant find the sheet *he gets up to get a book *comes back *oh where were we? *logs in to the meeting time, but the meeting is finished *this is the 3rd meeting he has missed in 2 days *read half an instruction and started doing all the wrong work *messages and questions coming through like fire every second *domestics walking past the back of kids *dogs barking *even vacuum cleaners and open cupboards in the backgrounds
* PANIC STRIKES *its been 4 hours of distractions and pure stress and he hasnt started one thing!!!!
At one point I could see there were more than 20 items happening at the same time.....
NOW FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT UNDERSTAND ADHD - these kids can barely focus on one task at a time without been disrupted. It was becoming just toooo OVERWHELMING..... He put his hands on his head, burst into complete breakdown tears. He stood up from the computer in panic and "I GIVE UP MODE"!
I landed up putting him outside on a lounger in the sun to calm down for quite some time. I pondered about how he would ever be able to do this?
I felt sick in my stomach watching 10 years of work going out the window in one morning! Every bit of ADHD, Anxiety, Impulsiveness, Sensory and Poor Self Esteem swooped back in like a Tsunami.
I managed to convince him to "lets just do one thing together today then, because one thing would be better than yesterday" and so we started again these past 3 days.....
We made morning rules, we made evening rules, we made before you start rules, we made before you submit rules, we made marking rules, we made diary rules, we made filing rules and we are still making rules every day.......rules to help him be organised and to plan, but most importantly RULES FOR AN ADHD KID to GET THE WORK DONE WITHOUT BEING DISTRACTED OR IMPULSIVE.
Looking back now, I cant believe that society expected ONE MOULD FOR ONLINE KIDS and that we didnt all anticipate that different kids needed different ways to do this?
I know that society didnt expect it, we could never have assumed it would be the same for all kids. I think over these past few weeks, society has been in the hampster wheel, just trying to make the changes and survive. But nobody imagined how totally different it would be for the ADHD!
I always knew he learns differently and gets to the end in a different way, why did I not think about this before?
Perhaps everyone has just been trying to integrate themselves into this NEW NORMAL!
PS: NEXT BLOG = SOME OF OUR RULES TO SHARE.