Corona - Planning What's Next
In many parts of the world plans are being made, for shops to re-open, sports to start again, working from home to shift back to working from the office, and educational establishments are looking forward to welcoming students back.
We have been thinking a lot about schools, and what that transition back for children with CVI could be like for them.
Some schools are clearly trying to keep parents informed. Some are including parents and inviting parent input in this process. Others are not.
Our view is that each individual child with CVI needs their own personalised, flexible plan for returning to school.
Because with CVI, change needs to be planned, structured, purposeful and ideally to have the child completely on-board, engaged and in control. The last few months have been the opposite, where sudden huge changes were thrust upon the child with CVI. Some have coped remarkably well, maybe enjoying the slower pace of life and quiet. Others have really struggled, as Gordon Dutton explained in his Corona Blog 3 (all page links at the bottom of this email).
But making a plan is not always easy, especially when there are so many variables:
What happens if a plan is not made, or is not good enough? Nicola McDowell in her Blog 25 shared her experience of 'Heading Back Without A Plan'. One word - disastrous!
Making a plan is not always easy, with many still unknown variables, so we have shared a template of an approach we have used many times. It is based on a pretty standard project management template, very basically where everything you can think of is ordered, structured and prioritised, so that problem areas and opportunities to do things better are easy to see, and solutions can be constructively planned, agreed and implemented. In an ideal world anyway. That's not how things are at the moment though, and the accessible solution the law may say the child is entitled to, may have been notched into second place by new safety regulations. We explore and explain this problem in our guide to School After Corona Pandemic.
For those of you who may be making a plan for a child with CVI, one bit of advice...
Allow plenty of time.
The Devil is in the Detail!
Our planning approach (explained in our Transition guides, links at bottom of this email) is not only to help manage changes, but also identify the causes of problem areas.
One example was one of our contributors who has a son who attends a day centre for young adults. The centre was thrilled to have him, and planned everything they could - the manager even bought and read Vision and the Brain (we approve!). But, the young man started each morning's welcome session in a communal space looking really miserable.
Looking at the start of the day, everything at home was fine and he left happy. He loved the bus, even if there was traffic, but something happened in a space of no more than one minute, between getting off the bus and the morning welcome sessions.
Was it the walk from the bus? Maybe there was a step he tripped down - no, not that.
Then, his mother remembered a detail everyone had missed. On arriving at the day centre he was expected to hang his coat on a hook before going to the communal room, where his friends were. A hook he could never find. Every day started with a failure. A little thing that's very easy to resolve, but when unidentified, can mean the difference between a happy person ready to learn, and a miserable person who just wants to go home.
For happy children returning to school, planning is needed. The same plan is adaptable for students with CVI returning to University or College and adults with CVI returning to work. It can even be adapted to be useful for children with ocular visual impairments or other additional support needs - they all need a plan. Everyone probably needs a bit of a plan!
For the more complex children with CVI who are non-verbal, the approach is slightly different. Despite the fact that you can't discuss what is going on with them, there is still a great deal you can do to help prepare them. For this group of children we've written a separate guide School After The Corona Pandemic - Non-Verbal Children.
As with everything, the more you put in, the more you get out. If what you get out is happier children, then it is worth all the work.
The CVI Scotland Team
PS Everything new can be found in our Updates section, and via Twitter @scotlandcvi and our Facebook page.
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