After 20 Months, One Down, Two to Go

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by Meagan Cheney |

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After 20 months, the kids are returning to school. One of them, anyway.

Originally, we were going to wait until all three kids had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before we allowed any of them to return to school. But Addi, 13, has had a hard time being at home and away from her friends. So, after Atlas, 8, and Austen, our 6-year-old who has Dravet syndrome, received their first vaccines, we made the decision to let Addi return to school.

She was so excited to be back in a classroom, and I admit I was pretty happy to not be teaching pre-algebra anymore.

With the week behind us, we are starting to fall into a new normal. Home schooling is a lot easier to stay on top of when I’m only teaching two kids, and I have a better time keeping our routine consistent, which helps Austen’s autism behaviors immensely.

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She has fine motor skill delays, which make it especially hard for her to learn to write. I have now been able to spend extra time with her occupational therapy exercises, which I hope will help her to write her name before returning to school.

Meanwhile, Addi is loving school. She has joined orchestra, where she can use her violin skills, and a Dungeons and Dragons club. She has met a few friends, and hasn’t even tried to sleep in since she started. True, it’s only been six school days so far, but that’s like years in teenager world.

In just nine more days, Atlas and Austen will be getting their second vaccine shots, meaning they will have developed the strongest immunity to the virus by Dec. 10, and will be able to return to school. I’m still trying to decide whether I’ll send them this close to the Christmas break or wait until next semester. 

On one hand, I can’t wait to get them back in the classroom. On the other hand, it might be mean to throw a new student at a teacher the last week and a half of the semester. Either way, I know Atlas and Austen are more than ready to join Addi on that adventure.

I keep talking about getting back to normal, when neither Austen’s Dravet syndrome nor the COVID-19 pandemic have gone away. Our lives may never go back to the way they were before the pandemic started. But these steps we are taking are exciting, and it makes me even more excited to learn what the future holds.

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Note: Dravet Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Dravet Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Dravet syndrome.

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