On this blog, twitter, and my newsletter, I’ve been writing fairly consistently that certain groups are faring particularly badly during this pandemic.
And we’re living it. We’re in the midst of a re-evaluation of Ian and setting up plans for him after he finishes high school this June. All sorts of professionals — school administrators and private experts — have popped the hood on my kid and looked around. We decided that before he goes to college, he needs to spend a year or two in a public school transition program, where they’ll work on his social skills so he won’t get booted out of a college calculus class for being too annoying.
In our conversations with all the professionals, everyone said that this year has been a disaster for a kid who doesn’t blend in with mainstream kids. Ian hit a developmental brick wall, because he’s been locked in a bedroom for months and months.
It’s not just the special ed community that regressed. My friends tell me about their college kids and family members, who shut themselves up in rooms back in March and aren’t coming out. While these individuals aren’t formally on the spectrum, they have social anxiety or just ordinary shyness. Their social skills are rusty, and now, they’re too afraid to leave their bedroom sanctuaries.
We’re going to have to clean up some serious mental health issues when this is all said and done.
My hope is that we put aside resources for the groups that have suffered the most. So, that means free, additional tutoring, therapy, and mental health support for low-income, or young or special needs students. I would also like to see financial support for local town recreation programs and libraries to organize clubs, meetings, and social gatherings.
We’ve been bowling alone for a year, and it’s just not healthy.