To attend or not go to school/get help for your family through home-based services. What are the ethics?? Who should decide and what to do when you consider options? To me, it’s not a one size fits all answer. I feel for some families where remote schooling would be potentially harmful to their health and the consequences that the decision may have. Each possible scenario has pluses and minutes with the Delta variant amidst us, The potential impact on language is something that we may be dealing with for quite some time Potential Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Communication and Language Skills in Children – PubMed (nih.gov)
Regardless of the research, I am concerned about this ethically. Should states allow parents to have the option of in-home schooling available to them? There are considerations.
One parent told me that she would rather have her son (who has ADHD) have services in speech therapy unmasked virtually vs. masked and in person. Interesting statement to ponder. Those with a social communication disorder or an autism spectrum disorder in which social interaction difficulties, problems in verbal and nonverbal communication may be prevalent. Sensory challenges may also play a role with these people and some will undoubtedly have trouble wearing masks. How do you deal with that? There are children who have never been in school – “started”; but never in a school building!
I’m not envious of those needing to make this decision now. There is a lot to think about.
If you are concerned about the Delta variant and may be keeping a child home from school – or preschool know that there are options for your child to learn communication skills at home by infusing, or embedding teaching moments into your day – your daily routines.
To embed involves “learning by doing”. For example, here are some examples of ways that you can help your son or daughter to develop speech and language at home by DOING to give you food for thought so you can consider how aspects of your routines, when we are or are not socially distanced can become teachable ones. At the bottom of this post are some additional insights for how to teach language in the below stated areas of daily life.
Teach Vocabulary: food names and actions
Follow Directions by having them “give me the red pepper.” , have the child find and place the red pepper where it goes.
Answer questions by saying “what is this?” as you pick up i.e. a box of their favorite cereal. You could ask them to tell you “where does it go”
Sequencing the steps: You can teach this by modeling what you are doing in the process of unpacking groceries as you do it. For examplel: starting with saying “Thank you” to whomever has delivered your package. Discuss that you need to “pick up” the bag and “bring it to the kitchen” “unpack “(define that), “put the cereal …” etc.
Doing the Laundry:
Teach Vocabulary: clothing and action words
Sorting – all the dark colored clothes in one pile and the light ones in another Have your child help by putting “all the shirts go here. all the pants go in this pile.
Follow Directions: Ask your toddler or school ages child to “put a pod of soap into the machine” with your supervision.
Sequence: You can teach this by modeling or having your child hear/see the steps being performed: “open the door”-washing machine, “put clothes in” “put in the soap” “close the door”
The idea of embedding activities into daily routines so that parents can help to facilitate development in language with their children in the 0-3 age range and actually beyond is widely used. It appears that in an age of a pandemic, social distancing and altered lifestyles that the need for inclusion of embedding activities into daily living has become even more important. You are your child’s first teacher and that job does not end – pandemic or not, 24/7. Hopefully, these suggestions can help.
Teaching Executive Function through daily routines
On youtube or in the library re books that you can read to your child about this and other daily activities. It’s worth taking a look and previewing reading about each activity even before you do it – or at a quiet time of the day.
Schools are closed and there is still a pandemic brewing in our midst. Some remain unvaccinated and the question of what will come next has arrived. Technology will most likely be on the minds of students who now have more free time and ideas for developing routines and rules around it abound. However, I have another one for you and it came out of the blue in a discussion within the past two weeks.
I asked a parent, as a part of an evaluation that I was conducting about how much screen time their eight-year-old has. The answer was an awesome idea to consider.. the 5K rule “For every 5,000 steps she moves she get a half hour. The most she can get is one hour of time using her tablet”.
You are probably thinking.. how is this measured? That was my question.. and the parent had a marvelous idea. An exercise tracker. They are very easy to get, so click on the green link!
I recall struggling with the one-hour rule of television unless there was a special program on or one that we had to watch for school. What did my brothers and I think of doing???? Perhaps I can share some ideas with your family. I was raised before computers and summertimes were different, to say the least. It gives me an opportunity to share another way to have fun! We had a different way of talking one another and still do – bringing new experiences to the next generation.
Mom was a librarian …there were always trips to the library. My dad taught us to work in the backyard and we weeded the area where he was growing vegetables. I even had my own area for marigolds. It is heartwarming to me to know that in my own home city of NY that there are Community gardens in New York City (dailykos.com) so that these skills can be learned. Check with the parks department in your area I learned that cat food cans filled with beer attracted slugs and collected a lot of them that way because slugs would ruin the crop. We went to the park and raced after the Good Humour truck to get an ice cream pop down the street as the bell of the truck was heard when we finished dinner. You can have a lemonade stand at a city park in NYC, perhaps in other areas as well. We went to the local pool, drew pictures, and I kept a diary. Playing in the park or backyard was always an idea. The very fondest memories were those that last a lifetime… family vacations. To this very day, we talk about our childhood trips. We still have them and share our memories with a new generation of family members. I hope that they will have the same experience as we did…
Oh! Please don’t forget to take pictures and perhaps write a story about the details so that you can continue with new traditions and remember the old. It will give you more about which to talk and even share virtually during that half or whole hour 🙂
In a matter of speaking … yes! Wow!!! Blended learning students in grades 9-12 return to buildings beginning 03/22 (at least in NYC). Speech-language pathologists help others with organizational skills so in that spirit here are some reminders
Get back into that routine now! Resume the routine bedtime, preparing lunch the night before, laying out clothing etc. Whatever the routine – especially with students who are special needs, that will be important. Since we are talking about older students returning, maybe a chart as below with their routine would be helpful to write out now..
Once your son or daughter is back – in-person..
Please communicate face to face if possible – not through facetime; but in-person and it will be important to show up with your son or daughter’s paperwork in hand. I’d suggest that you hand it to the special education supervisor as soon as your high school student enters the door. They may be pulling away during their adolescent years; which we’d typically expect. However, they won’t tell you – you are needed! Just like at the beginning in September – here is a checklist:
Set up a meeting or call your child’s lead teacher and introduce yourself. If possible go to school in person as it is the parent who makes themselves known that gets the help!
Make sure that your child’s therapy schedule is in place as times may change ..??? perhaps…
If your son or daughter needs any adaptive equipment – communication boards or FM systems and these are typically at school – make sure they are there and also any eyeglasses!
***If your son or daughter can help with the very last item above it may be wonderful so that you guide them in self advocacy skills!
Remember that it is not just your child who needs the help. Your child's teacher needs the support from the school therapist so that they know how to support him or her and they need you too as the "team leader". Your son or daughter needs guidance too!
Resources: The impact that changes in kids since the pandemic necessitated social distancing cannot be understated.
Thanksgiving is coming; but how do you keep safe traditions now in a socially distanced world. Cooking has always been something central to our family. I would think that this is to others as well. In my family, we sometimes share a recipe. Everyone brings something to dinner and one family member makes a main course. This year will be different. We will all be separated. Perhaps we will come together on Zoom, Facetime or someoneyum y uy ittyuyuu other form of technological means to mark a few minutes of the holiday together.
You are most likely going to be cooking anyway, so why not make it into a family happening. The speech-language pathologist in me suggests to you that there is so much that can be blended into this type of activity. For example, if you choose to make a fruit or vegetable salad together you can talk about the colors and categories of fruits or vegetables, with older kids – what makes a fruit a fruit and a vegetable a vegetable, cut with math concepts of quarters, a half or eighths. You could talk about action such as cutting, with shaped fruit/vegetable cutters and fruit picks slicing, spatial concepts such as putting in, taking out, having one next to or in between. Whatever you do, there are guidelines that were developed to keep cooking as a safe activity. According to the CDC, the following guidelines for holidays are noted.
“Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or eating is associated with directly spreading COVID-19. It is possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, including food, food packaging, or utensils that have the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way that the virus is spread. Remember, it is always important to follow good hygiene to reduce the risk of illness from common foodborne germs”.
Make sure everyone washes their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after preparing, serving, and eating food. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Instead of potluck-style gatherings, encourage guests to bring food and drinks for themselves and for members of their own household only.
Limit people going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen or around the grill, if possible.
Wear a mask while preparing or serving food to others who don’t live in your household.
If serving any food, consider having one person serve all the food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.
Use single-use options or identify one person to serve sharable items, like salad dressings, food containers, plates and utensils, and condiments.
Avoid any self-serve food or drink options, such as buffets or buffet-style potlucks, salad bars, and condiment or drink stations. Use grab-and-go meal options, if available.
If you choose to use any items that are reusable (e.g., seating covers, tablecloths, linen napkins), wash and disinfect them after the event.
Look for healthy food and beverage options, such as fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low or no-calorie beverages, at holiday gatherings to help maintain good health.
In terms of our fruit and vegetable – here are some reasons to make this – by color~
My personal favorite addition to the below is to add some sort of seeds for crunch – pomegranate seeds or pepitas; but regardless ……
Those with hearing challenges may need to be able to lip-read and for that reason, a different type of mask is available to them. It is called a mask with a “mouth expression shield”. As a speech-language pathologist, I see real benefits for the use of this mask when children are in school be they diagnosed with learning challenges, intellectual differences, with diagnoses as being on the autism spectrum or just neuro-typical. It’s also a wonderful tool in the age of COVID19 when you are an adult with communication challenges.
If your child is in school-a teacher would be more likely to interpret the reaction of a student to the information being presented and visa-versa
A parent may be able to bond more effectively with an infant and visa versa.
An adult with compromised communication function may be able to communicate more effectively with a significant another person, a caregiver, friend, or family member.
A person with cognitive deficits who may not be able to recognize others may be scared if they see a part of the face that is blocked; but unable to express this and become emotional – thinking they are alone. They may perseverate on a remark such as “where is…..?”
A newborn may more easilly bond with you if you are visible to them.
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