Explaining and Dealing With COVID19

How do you explain COVID19 to your kids?  I’ve been trying to find a resource to share.  It’s not so much an issue of explaining the basics of why they are home from school and unable to see their friends; but an issue of perhaps …empowering them with knowledge about how to practice self-care.  The visuals and sign language used in this also lend themselves to those with hearing deficits or special needs for use of very simplified language.   

If you as a parent of a special needs or non-special needs child/children need help here is a meaningful resources about services available in the community as you deal with that person in need of basic guidance in self care.   FJYPB-Covid-19-Resource-27.03.2020 (1)

The speech-language pathologist in me would be remiss if I did not note our new language of COVID 19 (literally) which was shared by a friend of mine for those fluent in musical notation. For older children who may be musically inclined and not attending classes, can they figure out the rhythm to these words?  Can they explain their meaning?

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Aside from the concrete information noted above – it’s so obvious that our world has changed.  I heard yesterday that birds actually sing more loudly when it is quieter outside.  The air in the urban setting is cleaner without the sounds of the city htps://www.soundsnap.com/tags/street_fair /youtu.be/0Rey6Vr_vAc or one that I remember even from childhood that remains as the driver of the truck goes by or sits outside of the park. https://youtu.be/zzodaDCD798   Perhaps hearing this sound will bring a smile to your face. 

I wonder if the truck will get here this summer…

Resources:           https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/adult-resources

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COVID-19 Parents

Sick woman looking at a thermometer.

In an age with so much sickness and heightened stress, don’t forget to stay healthy.  Forgetting about maintaining health in the area of nutrition should not be forgotten. The adage of  “you are what you eat” can not be understated.

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Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Having a concrete list of symptoms, so you can do a self-check as part of your daily hygiene may be helpful. https://www.mayoclinic.org/covid-19-self-assessment-tool .

As a speech-language pathologist, I would be remiss if I did not mention anything about this, in an age of social distancing. There are ways to connect with families:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/coronavirusparents/

“Coronavirus Parents: Parenting in a Pandemic is a group for parents, by parents, who are committed to supporting each other through the coronavirus pandemic.
We aim to help each other navigate school closures, childcare needs, social isolation, and other pressing concerns for kids and parents.
In addition, ParentsTogether (the host of the group) mobilizes parents to take action on issues affecting families. When we see opportunities to act, especially in support of families facing hardship due to the pandemic, we will share with this group.
This group is open to any parent or caregiver in need of support around the coronavirus. As an organization, ParentsTogether has a clear point of view: We fight on behalf of all families, with a commitment to equity and justice. No matter what your point of view, all parents are welcome in this group.
This community will work when all of us commit to mutual respect and civil discourse, even when we are anxious, scared, uncertain or angry–and especially when we disagree.
Coronavirus Parents do not provide formal medical or legal advice, and none of the posts here should be interpreted as medical or legal advice.
There are many health-related questions that are likely to arise in this group; members who share health resources are urged to include sources.”
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In closing – none of us wants to get sick so please take care!   https://parents-together.org/what-should-parents-do-if-they-contract-covid-19/

Resources to Keep You Informed

Resources for Families
Advocates for Children of New York https://www.advocatesforchildren.org/covid-19-updates?fbclid=IwAR24OaXWDMqk0SQHaOMDnlmNLzq3yDvOaP5smAW9ATb2J9FmXrJE42BgOTw

Information on Remote Learning https://www.schools.nyc.gov/learn-at-home/information-on-remote-learning

Autism Awareness

We have all been preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic, but how can we not be. It still is a month during which we acknowledge and bring awareness to the nature of Autism. For those with families where you have a child with this diagnosis, there are indeed ways in which we can more effectively cope in day-to-day life. So many have told me that it is just too hard to schedule appointments, or that they are overwhelmed and having trouble working. Temple Grandin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Grandin has some thoughts that I felt might help others. I hope that it does and welcome your comments about what enables you to get through this challenging time. Please share…

https://parade.com/1019088/debrawallace/temple-grandin-tips-children-with-autism-coronavirus-quarantine/?fbclid=IwAR1L8M8petdXfGQyZdPhyx51viLP1usEaEOzhHHVEgWOH-o6rqu9SOKvtnA

COVID19 RESPONSE: WHEN YOU STAY AT HOME

AND PERHAPS APPEARING FRUSTRATED …

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I will try to keep adding to this list for you as I come across items to add; but for starters, here are some concrete suggestions and resources available for you:

Is your child interested in music:  Tuesday and Wednesday online music classes  https://www.musicbrains.net/book-online

and from Daniel’s Music Foundation in NYC there are other virtual options https://www.danielsmusic.org/virtual-lessons

 

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SLP Activity Suggestions

With credit to Lisa Chattler, SIG 16 associate coordinator
Seal Beach, CA      I provide the list below and thank her on behalf of all of my readers for this wonderful resource!

***SIG=special interest group (language, learning and education) of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association

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Explaining Coronavirus

These are scary times and a number of parents online are asking for guidance in terms of how to explain the reason why their children are not in school.  There are ways that you can do so and I saw an article online that will be helpful https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/   

Some have voiced online concern about what will happen to their child when school is closed.  So that you can plan,  an option may be teletherapy.

 

Considerations With regards to Teletherapy  Message for Consumers:

If you are a New York State resident receiving speech-language pathology or audiology services in New York State, your Speech-Language Pathologist or Audiologist must be licensed in New York State.speech- pathology or audiology services in this State, as long as such services are performed for no more than thirty (30) days in any calendar year and provided that such services are performed in conjunction with and/or under the supervision of Speech-Language Pathologist or Audiologist licensed under Article 159 of the New York State Education Law.

According to the American Speech-Language Pathology Association https://www.asha.org/uploadedFiles/ASHA/Practice_Portal/Professional_Issues/Telepractice/Telepractice-for-Speech-and-Hearing-Services-Brochure.pdf


(a) An insurer shall not exclude from coverage a service that is otherwise covered under a policy that provides comprehensive coverage for hospital, medical or surgical care because the service is delivered via telehealth, as that term is defined in subsection (b) of this section;  provided, however, that an insurer may exclude from coverage a service by a health care provider where the provider is not otherwise covered under the policy. An insurer may subject the coverage of a service delivered via telehealth to co-payments, coinsurance or deductibles provided that they are at least as favorable to the insured as those established for the same service when not delivered via telehealth.  An insurer may subject the coverage of a service delivered via telehealth to reasonable utilization management and quality assurance requirements that are consistent with those established for the same service when not delivered via telehealth. (b) For purposes of this section, “telehealth” means the use of electronic information and communication technologies by a health care provider to deliver health care services to an insured individual while such individual is located at a site that is different from the site where the health care provider is located.

Citation: N.Y. ISC Law § 3217-H

			

Before Technology

Sometimes same events re-occur.  Years ago, families had rules about the use of television with children and now things have gotten more complex with the emergence of social media,  smartphones, and computers for example.

The Family Media Plan-published by the American Academy of Pediatrics talks about the fact that at the age of fifteen months, the use of media is okay so long as a parent watches with the toddler.  The controversy around this area is a fascinating one that should be considered by parents and caregivers.  In visiting homes it becomes apparent that there are varying opinions and reasons for or against its use being voiced.  Research about the use of technology is telling us more and more.  The fact that it is showing that there is an influence on brain development is not surprising. How does this affect your children and parenting style around this issue?

THE CHECKUP

Screen Use Tied to Children’s Brain Development

In a study, preschoolers who used screens less had better language skills.

 

Credit…iStock by Getty Images

Navigate Special Ed

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Navigating Special Education

So frustrating… your child enters the world and you are not aware of the hand that you will be dealt with.  You have a child – a wonderful child whom you love so much – but they have a different style of functioning. They may respond to the world differently. They may need accommodations in school so that they have an untimed exam. They may need related services such as Speech Therapy and/or a paraprofessional to provide support in the “least restrictive environment least restrictive environment

LRE continuum pyramid levels

Photo credit: https://adayinourshoes.com/iep-lre-least-restrictive-environment/?utm_source=copy&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=SocialSnap

Your child is evaluated to determine what needs they may or may not have.  You go to your local school district office to discuss the plan based on these reports and an Individual Education Plan is developed.  The law states that you have rights as a parent to both participate and agree or disagree to an outlined plan for your child.  I am not a special education advocate, but I work with children of different ages. Part of my work involves assisting parents with written reports to present at IEP meetings/CPSE meetings and speaking with professionals in terms of suggesting supports from which those whose skills I have evaluated may benefit.

You may be scheduling a meeting with educational attornies and trying to answer the question of “what’s next?” An attorney may advise you that your child is entitled to free appropriate education.  What is that? http://www.nyedlaw.com/blog/2018/02/what-constitutes-free-appropriate-public-education.html

Over the years, I have seen children fall through the cracks and not get the services that they need.  It’s in the best interests of your child to advocate on behalf of your own.

In the NYC area there are organizations such as

The Parents League   

IncludeNYC

available to help guide you as well.  Similar programs are offered in other areas so check with parents organizations supporting the needs of children such as your own.

Additional Resource https://magazine.parentingspecialneeds.org/publication/?i=646946&ver=html5&p=24

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Add Routines to Your Day

Kids love routines.

The dictionary definition tells us that routines are a “sequence of actions regularly followed. Why are routines important?  Without giving it away, here are 18 reasons:  http://www.skilledatlife.com/18-reasons-why-a-daily-routine-is-so-important/

Elmo, from Sesame Street, gives us an idea of what a routine for a young child may look like https://autism.sesamestreet.org/daily-routine-cards/

The need to assist families with children who have disabilities to embed tasks into their routines each day may be exasperating.  What can you do???   https://www.autismspeaks.org/sensory-issues

Examples of accommodations for hyper-sensitivities

  • Dimmed lights
  • Incandescent versus fluorescent lighting
  • Sunglasses or visor to block overhead fluorescent lighting
  • Ear plugs or headphones in noisy environments
  • Closed door or high-walled work areas to block distracting sights and sounds
  • Avoidance of strongly scented products (perfumes, air fresheners, soaps, etc.)
  • Food options that avoid personal aversions (e.g. intensely spicy, textured, cold, hot, etc.)
  • Clothing that accommodates personal sensitivities (e.g. to tight waistbands and/or scratchy fabric, seams and tags)
  • Request for permission before touching

Examples of accommodations for hypo-sensitivities

  • Visual supports for those who have difficulty processing spoken information
  • Sensory-stimulating toys (e.g. safe chewies and fidgets)
  • Opportunities for rocking, swinging and other sensory stimulating activities
  • Strong tasting and/or textured foods, cold beverages, etc.
  • Firm touch (according to preference)
  • Weighted blankets
  • Fun opportunities to practice physical skills (catching, dancing, jumping, running, etc.)
  • Furniture arrangements that reduce chances of bumping into sharp or hard surfaces