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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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

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

 

Continue reading “COVID19 RESPONSE: WHEN YOU STAY AT HOME”

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

 

Becoming Bi or Tri-Lingual

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Speaking more than one language at home enriches communication for children with autism

Neuro-typical and-atypical learns a language in the same way. Rather than a detrimental task for them, you are actually creating new pathways in the brain AND enabling more of the brain to develop. The fact is that anyone can learn a language, but it is simply easier to do so at an early age as the brain is initially developing. Over time, the language that a child is most comfortable with may change. The key will be to give a child lots of practice.

For special needs parents who have voiced this concern: Current research does not support the idea that raising a child with autism in a bilingual learning environment will delay language development or cause a language disorder. In fact, based on recent studies, we encourage parents to expose their child with autism to bilingual language environments.www.marcus.org › autism-resources › autism-tips-and-resources › autism…Autism & Bilingualism | Marcus Autism Center For sure – with these children you will want to have social pragmatic group involvement – defined here: https://www.autismspeaks.org/social-skills-and-autism. It’s just important for you and the group leader to understand that the child who learns two languages will typically develop skill function in the same sequence but at a slower rate. The fact that language development is slower will also slow down the rate of social skill development. Here is a list of the sequence https://www.apa.org/act/resources/fact-sheets/development-10-years. You may wish to discuss this with the social skills group leader, identifying with your child’s team where they are at.

Key Suggestions for How to Teach Your Child

One person’s parent or caregiver speaks on language and the other parent speaks the second language

At school – one language i.e. English and at home i.e. Mandarin

In the morning one language is spoken and then at night a second language is spoken

Some parents send their children to language classes after school. In NYC for example https://infohub.nyced.org/in-our-schools/programs/english-language-learners-programs-and-services

Keeping within the guidelines of your Family Media Plan you may want to incorporate these television programs for your younger child https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/5-bilingual-tv-shows-for-preschoolers or as they are older https://www.commonsensemedia.org/app-lists

No-Tech Activity for Teaching Dual Languages:

  • Reading Rockets

  •  

https://www.readingrockets.org/article/learning-two-languages

  • Bosley

In this reading series, Bosley may be a helpful addition for your child’s quiet reading time at home; because you can Follow Bosley on his adventures and learn a new language This dual language book is designed to teach your child new words and phrases. Techniques that are used include Repeat words Simple phrases Opposites Highlighted vocab words

Paperback Bosley Sees the World : A Dual Language Book in Mandarin Chinese and English Book

 

https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/bosley-sees-the-world-a-dual-language-book-in-spanish-and-english_tim—johnson/9469358/#isbn=1470171155&idiq=35837160

 

Technology Initiative:

Just published this week on the American Speech-Language Association website:

The Healthy Communication and Popular Technology Initiative is an effort led by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association to safeguard healthy communication in a technology-driven world. We’re a force for moderate tech use that encourages conversation, human interaction and practicing safe listening.

JOIN US

THE SITUATION

We are texting, emailing and posting more than ever – but are we truly communicating?

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The technology we use every day has helped us accomplish great things, but it’s also had a profound impact on how we communicate. If current habits continue, experts are concerned overuse of popular technology could lead to diminished speech, language and hearing abilities”.

I agree. 

Within the context of home care intervention, I may walk into a family’s home with a child who has a diagnosis of receptive and expressive language delay. Apparent are different scenarios related to this phenomenon

*****I am not trying to be critical of any parent or parenting style, but merely pointing out what has been observed

  • a parent on the phone and a child pulling at their clothes, but the parent ignores them.
  • the parent is on the phone and the child is playing on a tablet or phone and neither acknowledges each other or after opening the door – a newcomer in the home.
  • While speaking to a parent all of a sudden Elmo across the room starts to dance.  When asking how that happened, the parent pointed out that their daughter had learned to push a red button on a cell phone that then activates Elmo.  That’s what happened.  Inquiring as to whether or not the child could actually manipulate the toy and make that happen or request help in doing so, you could feel the tension in the room.  I never got the answer.

You get the idea……

Perhaps consider this article published today  https://blog.asha.org/2020/01/17/asha-president-is-parents-smartphone-use-the-new-secondhand-smoke/ 

and this

Adapted from The Gap: The Science of What Separates Us From Other Animals by Thomas Suddendorf, out now from Basic Books.

Like many a scholar before and since, Bertrand Russell confidently asserts that certain traits—“speech, fire, agriculture, writing, tools, and large-scale cooperation”—set humans apart from animals. Although we appear to excel in many domains, such claims are not typically founded in any thorough comparison. In fact, if you set the bar low, you can conclude that parrots can speak, ants have agriculture, crows make tools, and bees cooperate on a large scale. We need to dig deeper to understand to what we owe our unique success—what separates us from other animals in the domains of language, mental time travel, the theory of mind, intelligence, culture, and morality. In each domain, various nonhuman species have competences, but the human ability is special in some respects—and they have much in common.

Only time will tell if this continues to be the case.

Continue reading “Technology Initiative:”

How Does Assistive Technology Assist People With Communication Need? — Autism Connect

The frustration of not able to communicate or express their wants can have a negative effect on individuals with autism. They may tend to stay aloof, throw tantrum and indulge in negative behavior For autism, assistive technology can benefit individuals (of all age groups) in promoting communication and social interactions. Assistive technology refers to hand-held gadgets such […]

via How Does Assistive Technology Assist People With Communication Need? — Autism Connect

For school aged children, a caregiver can request the school district for an AAC assessment through the IEP process. Here is an example of how to request through DREF.org
https://dredf.org/…/uploads/2016/02/AT-AAC-Assessment.doc