Annie is on her third week of full-time online school. It’s…a struggle.

Annie is a smart kid, and in the perfect circumstances, she can demonstrate that. The perfect circumstances involve no distractions/ correct lighting/ accommodation for processing speed/ a person to translate neurotypical jargon to ASD literal speak/ 3 million highlighters of every color/ the soundtrack to My Neighbor Totoro playing on repeat and at high volume/ many breaks to go outside and swing/ an endless supply of rotisserie chicken.

Given all this, I don’t know how she accomplished anything in a school setting. Annie wants to work. She actually cares about school. Did you care about school in the 10th grade? I cared about my boyfriend, the multiple plays I was in, speech and debate, and US foreign policy in Nicaragua. Geek.

We are beginning to put some strategies in place. We print out EVERYTHING. We bought a paw patrol stamp so that she can stamp context clues in her reading, as she tries to figure out what is happening in her English class. I’ve moved my workspace from my office, then to the next room, and now to the kitchen table next to her. We have a system of alarms and reminders for live lessons (so far these are completely ineffective.)

I am learning so much about her as she works through the challenges. She talks to herself, or hums to herself, all day, every day. I am trying to remind myself that I am her support system, but that her learning is hers. Annie’s Spanish grade is about HER learning Spanish and not me correcting her Spanish homework to impress her teachers.

The water is high, but we aren’t drowning. Yet