Fresno, CA

Surviving The Past Year With ADHD & School Openings

Mark-John Clifford

photo courtesy of ABC 30

I've written a lot lately on News Break about this past year and what it has meant to me and others living here in Fresno and Clovis.

While most of the stories involved me more than any others, this one is still about me, but it's also about listeners from the podcast that I host who have dealt with the same issues and shared their frustrations and their joys living through the pandemic.

While this story will focus a great deal on ADHD and how many survived this past year, it's also going to cover the added stress of homeschooling for many.

photo courtesy of NPR

Living with ADHD every day is enough stress for anyone that has ADHD. I've lived with it for 60 plus years, and I can attest to the success and failures many of us have during a typical year compared to a year like we've had this past year.

A great deal of what I'm about to write comes from listeners of the podcast. They shared their frustrations, their success, and their mental health issues dealing with the pandemic.

One issue most of them dealt with was learning to homeschool their kids or grandkids. For the past three-plus years, I homeschooled one of our granddaughters. This year due to stay-at-home orders, our daughter took over.

The majority of the parents I spoke with had issues getting their kids to understand they weren't on vacation. That even though school was closed temporarily, they were still going to school only at home, and their parents were the teachers. I bet some great conversations were going on after the kids realized what was what.

Homeschooling a child can be stressful enough without added issues like being locked down or not able to play with friends outside. Of course, kids being kids did that anyway when parents weren't at home.

Only a few parents that shared their experiences teaching brought that up in conversation, wondering how to "tame" the kids—their word, not mine.

Through it all, the parent's mental health and the children were the parent's primary concerns. They knew this was new to both parent and child, and things would be more challenging than usual in some cases.

The parents I spoke with or heard from via email were sometimes challenged by their kids on doing the homework assigned by their teachers that the parents had to follow through on.

This one challenge became the crux of mental health issues parents had to face as well as the kids.

It forced parents and the kids to be creative in teaching, being taught, and following assignments.

With this going on, some parents had to deal with their kid's ADHD and the challenges that it brings to the table.

I know the challenges I faced when the lockdown started living with a severe case of ADHD. It presented a whole wave of challenges that forced me to be creative in dealing with my ADHD daily.

I thought being away for ten years (I've mentioned my Federal Vacation in other posts) and locked up in an eight-by-ten-foot room was challenging for my ADHD.

Being locked down at home and having limited access to the outside world was frustrating at the bare minimum.

On the podcast, I talked about living, homeschooling, and mental health with ADHD during the pandemic related to parents and kids.

Nothing Is Ever Easy

Even for teachers, this was entirely new. They still had to develop assignments for their students but rely on parents to get the work completed. That's not an easy task for the teacher or parent.

In this article, a teacher talks about her frustration as a secondary school teacher this past year. I found her story mimics most of what I heard from teachers in Fresno and Clovis.

Here in Fresno and Clovis, some schools opened even though there was a mandate for schools to be closed. It subsequently took a court order to close those schools.

As the numbers of COVID cases lowered, restrictions were lifted, and schools were allowed to open with minimum capacity. There were stories in the news of students and teachers complaining about the openings for many reasons.

If you wonder how this affects mental health, think about yourself being told one day to go to work, then possibly a week or two later being told to work from home, only to be called in a month later to get back to your desk. Don't you think this messes with your mental health?

Right now, schools are reopening in Fresno and Clovis, and all seems to be okay. They do have classroom guidelines to follow; hopefully, they work to curb any transmission of germs.

Masks and dividers are being used to combat the spread of COVID at all schools. There is still concern that COVID is still a health issue here, and they want to protect both teachers and students.

Many parents I have talked with raise the question that is it too soon to open the schools? I guess we will find out over time.

One parent on the podcast stated that she hadn't had a good night's sleep since this all began. Her overall mental health has diminished between worrying about contracting COVID or teaching her child and expecting work to be done. But, since the reopening of schools, she finally sees the light at the end of the tunnel.

If everything goes well with the opening of schools here in Fresno, Clovis, and surrounding cities, kids and parents will significantly benefit mentally in the long run, which is what everyone wants.

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Patti, my wife, and I write about life here in Fresno, California, and the Central Valley. We especially enjoy writing reviews about restaurants we've dined at, along with the food that is served. From time to time, we also write about and share recipes that we are fond of and hope you'll try them and let us know your thoughts. We are not traditional food critics. We don't have to worry about restaurants making unique dishes for us. We're just the average customer going in to dine, and then we write reviews.

Fresno, CA

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