By Jane Dixon Weber
It’s time to start looking ahead to moving into post-COVID-lockdown life, though I know people are in a variety of places right now and there have been varying degrees of impact for everyone.
For schools, it ranges from fully remote to fully in-person and every variation in between. For adults, many left their jobs until they could be vaccinated, some stayed in their residential facilities and only minimally saw their parents, and some adults moved back home.
Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, know that things will be changing over the next few months. Even if you don’t know exactly what the change will look like, start looking at the possibilities.
- Look at what is going on now, how you and your family are living day-to-day, and where you all are physically and emotionally.
- Then, look at what is likely to happen in the next few months that could affect work, school, home, health, etc.
- Develop a plan to go from where you are now to each the possibilities you listed.
Questions to Ask
For students, contact the school administration:
- Can I schedule an IEP meeting?
- Will school be in-person?
- Will there be any changes to protocols?
- Where will they eat lunch?
- Will they be in a new classroom?
- Will there be different teachers, para-pros, or other staff?
- Are there transition activities that you can start early?
For an adult living at home during the pandemic, contact the responsible organization:
- Will they be able to move back into their out-of-home living, and when?
- Will it be the same group of people?
- Have any of the staff changed?
- Can there be a transition process?
- What kind of requirements will be in place?
- What kind of activities will they be able to do?
- How much time will they spend with other people?
- Will they be able to see their parents?
- Is there a vaccination requirement?
- What are the rules around masks?
For an adult who is going back to work, contact the job owner/supervisor:
- Is the same job available?
- Have the supervisors changed?
- Any new rules for the job?
- Can there be a transition process?
- What are the mask requirements?
We took our son, Ian, out of work when COVID started, and we also brought him back home to live. It was a big transition for all of us, but we thought that was best for our family. We set up a new daily routine and developed plans to teach new skills.
Fast forward to spring 2021: We’ve started transitioning Ian back to work. He works at a grocery store and fortunately, they’ve been very flexible in his work, as we wanted to wait until we could all get our vaccines (our personal decision).
- 1 hour a week outside: Ian started working outside first, doing carts in January, one hour a week. He wore his mask and only spent short periods of time inside the store. Either I or his job coach was observing.
- 2 hours a week outside: Then we went to two hours a week, still outside.
- Location transition: Ian asked if he could move to a different store and work inside. We scheduled all our vaccines, but in the meantime, we started shopping at the new store. It turned out to be a great transition activity as Ian is becoming familiar with the store and the people who work there.
- 1 hour a week inside: Ian is started inside at the new store. We are starting at an hour to get him used to being on his feet, but plan to add more hours over the next few weeks.
I know this may not be as easy as it sounds or happen as quickly as you or others would like. But give careful thought to what you do. This pandemic has been life-changing for most of us. Look back at your last year of life. Did you ever, ever think that something like this could happen to us? Wearing a mask? Social distancing? Not seeing — or hugging — anyone outside your family?
I cannot tell you how many times I walked into a store and thought, this is so weird. And we’ve been doing this for over a year. Speaking of which, for those of you who have not gone to a store much over the last year, learning to go into a store will be a transition too.
As you get ready for the changes to occur over the next few months, take some time to reflect on this past year. (Other than noticing that your ceiling needs to be painted.)
Write down some thoughts, have your children do the same, and put together photos that represent your year. When your children become adults, they will have stories to tell. It will not be, I had to walk to school every day even in the snow … (even though for some of you it was uphill both ways 😉 ).
It will be, I did not have to go to school. I was on the computer all day every day.
My heart goes out to those who lost someone to this disease. Please take care of yourselves.
Concerned about the COVID-19 vaccine? Please see the NFXF webinar COVID-19 Vaccines and Fragile X, with Dr. Craig Erickson.