Diary of a LOCKEDown Mom – 1/3

Posted by Shalini Gupta, Bengaluru

Journal entry date – 2nd April 2020

I am reading about how traumatic this janta lockdown is for everyone, particularly school going children. The disappointment of not being able to meet friends, finish board exams, play sports are all being listed as huge drawbacks. Many social media articles are talking about possible psychological disorders due to youngsters being secluded. Parents are complaining about loss of their privacy, about not knowing what to do with their smart, school going children.

But diary, I ask you – is something wrong with my family? How come I am not experiencing any of these situations? How come my 18-year-old daughter is not complaining, but in fact, when I scratch my brain harder, I find her enjoying herself immensely? Did I make a mistake somewhere? How come she is enjoying watching movies on Netflix in her home as much as she enjoyed seeing them in theatres ?

An old photo of Gayatri at the movie theatre

Journal entry date – 6th April, 2020

Well, as usual you silently absorb everything I say. You leave me to struggle with the questions and find the answers myself. But here’s some good news… I finally can turn around and tell the world the reason why I always intuitively said I am ‘blessed’ with a child like Gayatri!!

You remember, Gayatri is blessed with Down Syndrome. This means that she was ‘different’ from her typically growing peer. Recognising that, when we shifted to Bangalore, I gave her the option of formal schooling vs. homeschooling. Being an intuitive person, she opted for the latter. From there started her journey in exploring a wide gamut of self-fulfilling activities. While we both gave academics due emphasis, we did recognise that Gayatri was interested in many other areas. So, she explored the digital space and in her own slow and steady manner, learnt coding and website designing!!

Now in this lockdown period, she has adapted herself so perfectly to online classes. All thanks to this rigorous training. In fact, her special educator was hesitant in starting online classes. It was her student, Gayatri, who handheld her on a WhatsApp video call. Gayatri taught her teacher how to screen share on Skype and send educational YouTube videos that could be viewed during class sessions.

From improved handwriting, to quicker learning of multiplication tables, she is excelling in academics like never before. Believe you me, today when I was asking Gayatri why she looks so happy, she replied without a moment’s hesitation that she preferred online classes to face-to-face ones!!

There you go! The inability to be comfortable in social settings has been turned into her advantage in this lockdown time. She is learning, and faster now than she has in the past. The anxiety in social interactions has been taken away from her learning!! Thank God for this…

To be continued...

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