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News (Noticias)

Staying Social in a time of Social Distancing

Girl smiling at the camera

For most students, remote learning became their part of their daily routine as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But 13-year-old Sahriyah made the switch to online much sooner and for a very different reason. With the help of her mom and her RMHS service coordinator, she has been thriving.

Over the past year, Sahriyah has undergone two major surgeries on her knees and hips. There was an extended recovery time for the surgeries which resulted in the need for her to switch to remote learning. The transition wasn’t without challenges and it took some time for her to adjust to this new way of learning.

The light at the end of the tunnel for Sahriyah was knowing that once recovered she would be heading back to the classroom and her friends, who she was missing terribly. As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed and students were transitioned to all remote learning Sahriyah and her mom were faced with the reality that she wouldn’t be back in the classroom any time soon, leaving her feeling a loss from the lack of interaction with friends.

“Sahriyah is a social person,” said April Stewart, mother of Sahriyah. “The transition to learning from home was difficult because she loves to be at school with her friends.”

To make matters more difficult for the family, April works a full-time job and is a full-time college student. April’s time was limited, and she was not able to take Sahriyah out of the house. Coupled with the loss of time spent at school, Sahriyah’s overall wellbeing was affected. April knew she needed extra support and help in keeping Sahriyah active during the week, so she reached out to their service coordinator with the RMHS Family Support program.

The Family Support program provides service coordination to individuals who have an intellectual or developmental disability or a developmental delay. Service coordinators work with family members to connect them to resources, provide advocacy and can offer financial support for services like respite care. For Sahriyah, the availability of respite care became a social lifeline.

Pumpkins carved for Halloween

The family, along with their service coordinator, made arrangements for Sahriyah’s cousin to begin providing respite care. That ensured she had opportunities to safely get out of the house and socialize. This month, Sahriyah went to a local pumpkin patch with her cousin, and she loved it.

“She is a trooper,” April said. “There are not too many people who could‘ve gone through what she went through and still be as cheerful.”

This year has been difficult for everyone but knowing that there is help available makes April and Sahriyah feel much better about what tomorrow will bring.

To learn more about Family Support visit

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