Danielle shares her experience as a parent of students with disability during COVID-19
I am Danielle Yow Yeh. I'm a parent of four children. Sonny is 11. He has autism, an intellectual impairment and ADD. Charlie, who is nine, she has autism and ADHD.
Two-year-old Ari and seven-month-old Darcy.
Onscreen text: What happened for your children’s school education during COVID-19?
Being a primary school and being a large primary school, there was no Zoom sessions, face-to-face or anything. It was all ClassDojo, which really didn't work for us because we had one device for two children, and it was very clunky and it was difficult to upload stuff and then there was no tech support so, you know, it was really difficult to try and keep the motivation and engagement whilst managing technology that we'd never used before, that teachers would, you know, mildly familiar with. One of my big takeaways was that there was a presumption of computer, like, you know, technology literacy and also accessibility. So we're very fortunate in our family that, you know, we have things like laptops and iPhones, but there's a lot of families who don’t and they were kind of just left out.
Onscreen text: What helped with remote learning during COVID-19?
For Sonny, you know, he was at special school at the time and he was sent home physical books, like so he'd have like day one, here is everything you need to do, here’s all the lessons in a nice just you know, a stapled piece of paper, day two. So we would go to the school, they would be left in a box with the name, we'd pick it up, and even though it was probably manually a lot of work, it, it made a lot easier to engage because we weren't relying on technology.
Onscreen text: How did you adapt during times of remote learning?
Practical learning opportunities around home. So we did things like ... we got our book case and we colour coded all the kids books, so put all the orange books together and we did you know how many books will fit in this cube? We did nature drawing, we went on walks, we did you know food science, you know, baking, cooking, those sorts of things, which felt a lot more manageable. And I didn't feel that really intense guilt of I'm not educating, not doing anything. And I really had to work hard to reframe the idea that it's not that my children aren't being educated and they're not going to school, that this is right now an unprecedented situation and it's an opportunity to do what I can do, which was to connect, to educate through some of those just household activities. We painted a cubby house, we did gardening and, you know, we just used it to the best of our abilities.
Onscreen text: Share your story disabilitycovidreview.education.gov.au