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Give yourself grace: Inside the challenges of returning to school for a child with special needs

Pierce is 3-and-a-half years old. His parents are still trying to figure out how to best educate their young boy, who has Down syndrome.

Local 5 first introduced you to young Pierce, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome as a newborn, in March 2018.

Now a 3-and-a-half years old, Pierce is laughing and smiling. But his parents, Amber and Tyler Robinson, are now facing another challenge.

Back to school.

As students across Iowa are figuring how details for their districts amid the pandemic, the Robinsons are no different. 

"With his Down syndrome diagnosis, his immunity is a little bit lower than your typical kids," Amber said. "My son's not gonna keep a mask on."

So the search was on for an alternative to in-person classes.

Social media. Nanny websites. It was a lot.

"Holy cow. It really is a pandemic and people are struggling to find care."

As business owners, Amber and Tyler have some flexibility to care for Pierce as best they can. But for many others, it's a much more difficult task.

Amber believes the best way forward as a parent is something often forgotten.

"We can't beat ourselves up as parents. We have to give ourselves grace to know that this wasn't planned," Amber said. "Just like Pierce. His diagnosis wasn't planned, so we just have to do our best as parents and leaders to our children to just give them what they need right now."

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