Our teen with autism has been away from in-person school since 2020.
Prior to Covid, the autism support in the schools was already lacking and spread too thin. My child’s autism makes them high risk for certain behaviours that could cause them harm if they are not addressed but the supports they had at school were keeping them safe. When these programs were faced with the additional strains of Covid, though, they could no longer function to protect my child.
My child is now attending an excellent online school. They couldn’t shift from in-person to online multiple times and they needed consistency. I also couldn’t leave work to care for them for a few weeks at at time before returning to in person. They’re doing well with e-learning now, since we have a consistent routine, but we’re still down to a single full-time income as I have had to quit my job to be at home to ensure they are safe and cared for during their online learning. We also don’t have the specialty resources available to us that were available through the school.
All children, whether neurotypical or neurodiverse, function better in predictable, structured, consistent and safe environments. I don’t know why they aren’t making schools safer – it will benefit all children, mine included.