Grateful Dad #8: Back To School

February 15, 2022

In this post, I talk about our struggles in face-to-face occupational therapy because of the COVID-19 pandemic and why we're thankful to be back.

We were finally able to enroll our eldest son in school again and I couldn’t be happier. If there’s one thing that I hated in this COVID-19 pandemic, beyond not being able to fulfill my personal priorities, it’s having to postpone my son’s schooling a number of times. Yes, all parents and students are undergoing the same, shall we say, obstacle but it’s a different case for us.

Grateful for the opportunity to attend face-to-face occupational therapy again

Grateful Dad #8: Back To School


You see, my son has been diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay (GDD) after he turned 2 years old in 2020. In short, he was not hitting his developmental milestones similar to kids his age. He is still non-verbal, he doesn’t make eye contact, sometimes it feels like he doesn’t hear anything when I talk to him. He has signs of autism but the developmental pediatrician doesn’t want to jump to conclusions until he has had the proper intervention. In his case, it’s occupational therapy.

For children with GDD, early intervention is a must. It’s somewhat a race against time because what we want is for the child to catch up as early as they can. According to the doctor, the first four years are crucial. In fact, it may even be the first three years because that's the time when the brain is developing rapidly. By the time the child turns four years old, they should more or less be doing the same things that kids typical his age are able to do.

Anyway, having understood the cruciality of our son’s condition, we immediately enrolled him in a school in Makati. It was convenient because it was near our condo unit. We didn’t waste any time by denying the fact that he wasn’t developing as he should. Mommy Khris and I were even discussing that there was something a little, shall we say, atypical with both our son’s habits as well as lack of focus.

School boy with backpack getting ready for his classes
Our son's very last face-to-face session before the lockdown

Our son’s progress was quite satisfactory that time. He was already making some eye contact, he was beginning to be interested in alphabets and numbers. He could even say “apple,” “banana,” “igloo,” and some other words. He can already do the action for “Wheels On The Bus.” All seemed well until the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Metro Manila was put in lockdown. All establishments had to close temporarily, including our son’s school. The school offered virtual therapy sessions but our pediatrician told us that our son, who was two years old at that time, might still be too young for that type of learning.

When we had to move back to my in-laws’ house in Quezon City, we tried to replicate our son’s activities. However, we were struggling. We couldn’t get our son to concentrate, more so listen to us. There were a lot of crying fits and attempts to escape. In the end, we just gave up on the “classroom” activities. I think the biggest challenge for us is that we weren’t equipped for that type of education, which is really special education. We had no idea if what we were doing was working. We didn’t know how to handle our son’s tantrums.

Nevertheless, I didn’t want to give up so we turned to “play therapy.” I just let my son play outside, I tried to talk to him, point to him where the sky is, what a flower is, where the leaves are, and so forth. I let him run around the yard, pick stones and sticks, and have his cousins chase him.

I wouldn’t say that our play therapy worked wonders but at least my son was happy and content.

When our son turned three, we finally enrolled him in online occupational therapy, supervised by his former school. That was the best that we could do for him. The challenges are still there; again I wouldn’t consider it to be making fast progress but that was the best option for him.

And then the schools started to offer face-to-face therapy sessions especially because the teachers themselves have already been fully vaccinated. I think we were the first to take advantage of that. COVID-19 was still out there, we just had to be extra careful when going out.

This time, my son was learning fast. He was learning how to dress himself, apply lotion on his skin, ask for milk and snacks through hand gestures, and wipe his face and mouth.

I lost all of the photos of my son during his last classroom session before the first Metro Manila lockdown. Good thing I was able to save a TikTok clip of him:

@dadonthemoveph My little schoolboy. #bigboy #schoolboy #handsomeboy #kahlilmiguel @Khris Jose ♬ Stranger - Official Sound Studio
A month into my son’s face-to-face occupational therapy though, it was announced that there would be tighter restrictions in Metro Manila again because of a new COVID-19 variant called Delta. It was apparently more aggressive and age-agnostic. Again, we consulted our son’s pediatrician as well as my parents on the next best possible move. In the end, we decided not to push through with the in-person sessions.

In the meantime, we went for a vacation to my hometown. Again, we reverted to play therapy. We still did my son’s exercises but this time it was in the yard. Instead of toys, we used sticks, stones, sand, water, and even dirt. We regularly took our sons outside and we even taught them how to throw rocks in a pool of water.

Now, we’re back to face-to-face therapy for the third time. We’re nothing but grateful because my son could finally resume his sessions, which we believe is the most beneficial option because it will be conducted by a professional. My son is already four years old but we’re in no hurry. I think one of the biggest lessons that we’ve learned through this experience is to let things be and to take our time.

While we do want to speed up my son’s development, ultimately, it’s not within our control. We can apply our own interventions but we can only do so much. It’s not because we’re not prioritizing him, it’s just beyond our grasp anymore.

I personally tried my best to teach him within my own abilities but I do admit that I’m not so much of a good teacher. I do get distracted, too, and my patience is not something that I’m proud of.

In the end, I’m just thankful that we’re finally back to school again.

How about you, what are you grateful for today? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.

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Thankful to be back to school again

For the last three editions of Grateful Dad, please read the following:


To read the whole series, please click here.
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2 comments

  1. Joaquin Eli Bacod15 February 2022 at 07:41

    Bilang parent tlga ito ung nkakalungkot pero pra sa mga kids natin wala nman tayong hndi kakayanin . Tama po tayong mga parents iniisip natin ung kapakanan ng mga bata lalo na ngayong pandemic . Pero nakaktuwa po ay unti unti na may nsasabi na siya na words . Ako ung araw araw na grateful ko , ung nkakaraos kami ng mga kids ❤️

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for sharing po dadi iv ako grateful pa din po kasi despite sa pandemic na ating kinakaharap still healthy pa din buong family.

    ReplyDelete

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