Teen with autism and his mom struggle with distance learning, COVID-19

Sean Sharp is 13-years-old and distance learning at home.

His mom Josefina and dad Sean Sr. are worried about his progress. Dad says his son is regressing from distance learning.

You see, Little Sean has autism. As his mom says, he gets confused easily "because, for him, it's really hard to put all the ideas together.”

This is something Josefina understands well. She counsels Spanish speaking families of kids with disabilities who are having, for the most part, a terrible time with distance learning.

RELATED: Distance learning is not a one-size-fits-all for special needs kids

Language is one challenge and large families with lots of kids are another. “That’s a big problem we are facing in our community," says Sharp.

Sean's mom works at Cal State Northridge's Family Focus Resource Center where they help families with special needs kids and so many others.

As for Sean’s autism, he’s verbal and he doesn’t want to leave the house.

He says, "I don't want to go anywhere or be in contact with people until there’s a vaccine.”

Turns out, Sean and his mom both have the coronavirus. The family believes it was brought into the house by a tutor/therapist who came in to help Sean.

RELATEDStay up to date on all coronavirus-related information

You may have heard that in the last two weeks of July about 100,000 kids tested positive for COVID-19.

Sean tested positive in the first week of August. And, mom, who had an inconclusive test has now tested positive.

Their temperatures are down. Oxygen levels are pretty good. But, they’ve been pretty sick so you can imagine how that distance learning is going.

The current health situation and future *potential ones* worry Dad who says, “It’s scary  … it’s scary. I don’t want my son have any complications from it.” 

Especially when he’s already having more than his fair share of learning difficulties

Josefina says its really important for parents of special needs kids to take action.

That's because, as she puts it, "nobody knows your child better than you. You have to find what your child needs and then find the help they need.”

Her recommendations:

1. Take copious notes and tell school administrators what your child needs.
2. You can seek out Special Needs Awareness groups on Facebook. There are several. The links are below.
3. Contact the CSUN Family Focus Resource Center. They can help.

So, just like the families, Josefina works with the Sharps struggle with distance learning while Josefina and Sean Jr. deal with the loss of taste, smell, chest pressure, cough and other COVID symptoms.

LINKS that may be helpful:

Family Focus Resource & Empowerment Center at CSUN 

AV Seed and Grow - AV Cultivar y Crecer

For tutors or therapists, there are various resources.

You can find some via the Los Angeles Public Library at https://www.lapl.org/onlinetutor

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