How Are Children With Sensory Processing Disorder Coping With Remote Learning?

Children and their parents have been cooped up together at home for months — and the signs of fracture are showing due to stress. It isn’t easy being your child’s sole source of in-person help when it comes to schoolwork, especially since some subjects — like math, which uses common core now — have changed their standards and requirements so much from when they were children themselves. And teachers aren’t always available to give help.

But what about for children with sensory processing disorder (or SPD)? How have they been coping with this strange new paradigm?

Some of them adapt better than others. And it’s important to remember that many children with developmental disorders or issues relating to socialization don’t like going to school. So staying at home and staring at the computer for a few hours might be far more welcome, if a little more difficult.

When Anacortes School District surveyed parents on the possibility of abandoning remote learning in favor of a return to classrooms, 75 percent said they wanted classrooms back as soon as possible. That’s not a huge surprise, as Superintendent Justin Irish admits: “We are really trying hard to meet everybody’s needs. We understand families are trying to juggle work, school and home. It’s hard.”

Even parents without children with SPD say they wonder how long distance learning can last. Colleen Jackson said, “It needs to end right now. I love Anacortes, I love the middle school, and I love all the teachers. I want my children to be with them in a classroom setting.”

And the struggle is even greater for parents who do have children with SPD. Alyssa Stiller is a single mom and had to hire a specialist to help her raise her 11-year-old child who has both SPD and ADHD. “Trying to keep him focused seems impossible,” she said.

You might be surprised — or might not — that some of these parents are upset because they doubt the pandemic is even real. How this might play out in the near future is anyone’s guess.