Students with autism, parents and teachers adapt to changes brought by Covid-19
SINGAPORE – The reopening of schools since the circuit breaker was lifted on June 2 has given caregivers like Mrs Emily Mcintyre much-needed breathing space.
The 52-year-old, whose 15-year-old son, Callum, is autistic, told President Halimah Yacob on Friday (June 19) that the four hours Callum spends in school every day has allowed her time to rest, catch up on housework and run errands again.
“It was quite tough, not easy, but I had to keep trying to get Callum to understand (the situation). When he needed a haircut, it was difficult to explain to him the closures,” said Mrs Mcintyre, who takes care of her son full-time.
She was among the staff, students and parents of Eden School who discussed their experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic with Madam Halimah when she paid a virtual visit to the school via teleconferencing from the Istana.
Eden School caters to 400 students with autism between seven and 18 years old. Like all other schools, it too had to close and move to home-based learning (HBL) when measures were put in place to stem the transmission of Covid-19.
As students with autism are especially disrupted by changes to their routines, both teachers and parents had to mentally prepare them for multiple changes induced by the pandemic, and think of ways to engage them in a confined home space.
For example, before HBL started, teachers at Eden used storytelling to help them visualise staying in place, and explained how it would be a while before they could visit recreational facilities like arcades and swimming pools again.
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