Distance Learning With Learning Differences – What NOT to Worry About

Parents and educators who’ve been forced into distance learning have A LOT of worries, understandably so.  Before I share which common concern NOT to worry about, humor me for a moment as I start with a story.


Young girl, black pony tails, in front of computer, hands on head with perplexed expression. Caption reads: Distance Learning With Learning Differences – What NOT to Worry About


I showed up on my nephew’s doorstep with birthday gift in hand.  I also showed up with a giant happy-birthday-smile behind the mask, but who could tell?


Smoke from the lightning fires here in California made the outside air dangerous to breathe, so I hadn’t planned on a socially distant backyard visit.


Because of my own wonky immune system, I hadn’t planned on a socially distant inside visit, either.


Instead, I also arrived with a giant bouquet of balloons to help keep things as festive as possible, for as long as possible, AND to hopefully make up for my sad but necessary quick escape.


My birthday knock was followed by a strangely, how shall I say this, enthusiastic welcome.


One by one, family members poured out of the house as if they’d just crawled upon an oasis of… someone, something, ANYTHING new!!!


Thankfully, on this particular day, the smoke was not as severe as it had been the days and weeks prior.


I visited on the front porch for a little longer than planned.  No hugs, mind you, but a wave of familiarity and comfort left me breathing easier than I had in a long time, despite the smoke.


I don’t know what was worse, not realizing how much I missed them or driving away once I truly did.


The pandemic has been hard on all of us.  We’re switching back and forth between weariness and hope, between “I’ve got this” and “Is this ever going to end?  I’m stuck in a desert of sameness here.”


I know we’re not alone in this.  Families of all kinds are adapting, and coping, and trying to make the best of a very difficult moment in time.


If your family has school-age children who are distance learning, even without learning differences, you might also worry, on top of everything else, how on Earth you’re going to prevent “COVID slide” (very similar to the summer slide of learning loss).


If that’s you, here’s my suggestion.  Don’t.


Okay, if worrying is your favorite thing to do then by all means, place that unrealistic expectation on your shoulders, then go worry to your heart’s content.


For everyone else, understand just how unrealistic it is to think that a global pandemic shouldn’t interfere with the effectiveness of school.


Of course it should.  It will.  Expecting yourself to keep it from happening is like expecting yourself to empty the ocean with a teaspoon.  Not gonna happen.  And that’s okay.


Your learner is going to be just fine.  Might I even suggest that with a little change in perspective, and a change in priorities, your learner could actually be better than fine?


Okay, convenient segue alert.  If your learner has learning differences and, pre-pandemic, already would have benefited from a DIFFERENT approach to learning intervention, I can help with that.   Learn about online training here.


While you’re at it, consider what your own desert oasis looks like.  Perhaps it also includes something new.  That is, a whole new way of looking at learning.