Postcards From The Pandemic: Special Needs Family Longs For Support
When Governor Mike DeWine first announced a stay-at-home order, the news came hard to many parents who had to work from home and watch over their children. But there’s one group of parents who’ve likely had the hardest task of all. Those are the parents of special needs kids.
Parents like Shanna Kovi, an assistant principal at a middle school and mother of two, who’s been working from home and, along with her husband Mark, has been watching over their 10-year-old son Griffin, who is severely autistic and non-verbal.
“It’s so hard because my son with autism, he doesn’t understand.” said Kovi. “He doesn’t understand why all of a sudden his life has changed, and he doesn’t have the cognitive ability to understand that.”
We went from having him go to school until 4:00 o’clock, having help most nights from 4 to about 7. And he had things like aquatic therapy and all sorts of things built in, and my parents on the weekend. We went from a ton of support to zero.
I think he has a lot of anxiety around, ‘Where did everybody go?’ It was evident with my parents because we were Zooming with them — we would go to my parents’ house at least once a week typically — and he would cry. So, he would be sad. He’d say, “Papa.” And so I think he’s sad and depressed.
And so everything comes out as anger. And then his aggression is, he goes at my head, and he pulls at me and he punches me.
Family Pulls Together
You know, my marriage is not perfect because like many families with special needs kids, it’s hard. I believe we’ve grown closer through this.
I had a full on meltdown yesterday, and my husband, where other times he would be like, “We don’t have time for this,” you know? He’s just like, “What can I do?” We’re stopping, and we’re really acknowledging each other’s feelings.
And my neurotypical son Dominic, I feel like he is so good at knowing when he’s upset and then hearing us. And he’s a pre-teen, so it takes him a minute. But he’ll have his moment, and then he’ll shake it and get back in the game.
So, we just started seeing my parents, and we just had to break quarantine.
And he’s been going to my parents’ house. And I will tell you, he was the calmest he's been in weeks.
The minute he hit my family’s house, going to my parents’ is such a comforting place for all of us. We walked in and I felt like, it’s hard to say this to my brother who’s been to Iraq, but it felt like I was returning home from war.