HILLSBOROUGH, NJ — The coronavirus quarantine is taking a mental and emotional toll on everyone, but is especially hard for families of special needs children. Without the structure of school or ability to socialize freely, each day can be a struggle. Hillsborough mom Jenny Sargent is sharing a heartfelt message with other special needs parents letting them know they “are not alone.”
“As parents of these kids, we are doing our best, but we are also struggling with all this. Our children are cut off from not only their teachers, but also from the direct interaction of all their extra resources. Therapy, social skills groups… Some of these things just are not as effective online,” Sargent said in a Hillsborough community group.
Sargent is the mother to Michael a special needs third grader at Hillsborough Elementary School. When schools were closed due to the pandemic and all of Micheal’s classes and therapy sessions were moved online it became a struggle.
“He doesn’t want to sit in front of the screen and it was hard enough to talk to the therapist in person and now he has to do it virtual,” Sargent said.
Even just keeping him focused long enough to sit in front of the computer for 2 to 4 hours a day for his online classes can be tough.
“I’ve seen a lot of depression over the last two months. He lost any interaction he had with kids his age. He virtually can’’t run around at recess and is just playing with us adults now,” Sargent said. “Michael needs the structure of school, a break from home, to be able to listen to other adults, to get on a bus… now we have backtracked with things.”
Even looking towards September and what that will even look like after such a long break from school can be daunting.
Sargent shared her thoughts and frustrations by sharing a heartfelt post with other mothers in a Hillsborough community group. The support she received in return was overwhelming.
“It is hard right now to not feel alone. For all those parents out there struggling like I am, you are not alone. Our kids will make it through this. You are doing the best you can, they are doing the best they can. This situation is something that no one has had to deal with before,” Sargent said in her community post.
Sargent received over 240 interactions and 58 positive comments from mothers relating with her, supporting her, or just thanking her for vocalizing their same frustrations as a parent.
“This isn’t a normal circumstance. Sometimes I feel like I am failing [Michael]. But we need to give ourselves leeway and credit,” Sargent said. “As a mom sharing how I felt that day was something I needed to share. Just to let others know we are not alone.”
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This article originally appeared on the Hillsborough Patch