ONAGA, Kan. (KSNT) – Local schools have made the decision to keep their students remote learning until coronavirus cases begin to settle, something tired parents perhaps do not want to hear.
Speech Pathologist Ashley Edelman and Occupational Therapist Jill Nolte have worked with lots of kids going through virtual school at the Community HealthCare System in Onaga, and have seen the challenges they face. These include less social interaction, leading to loss of language skills and sound development, as well as behavioral problems, difficulty focusing and being overall less active.
“They don’t get that one-on-one attention necessarily when they’re doing remote learning,” Nolte said. “Whether it’s your fine motor skills or gross motor skills, they just don’t get that one-on-one like they did in the schools.”
However, the two experts are here to help. You can continue helping your child develop these skills they would in the classroom by adding simple steps into their daily routine, according to Edelman and Nolte.
To help strengthen their speech development, reading your books to your kids or looking at pictures together can help do so. Talking with them about what you are seeing or hearing will help with their language stimulation, which can even be mixed into daily activities.
“‘Mix the hamburger’ or ‘get milk’ or ‘put milk away,’ simple things like that,” Edelman said. “With older kids you can start talking about maybe some categorical things, maybe while you guys are cooking you can say ‘okay, of these ingredients which one doesn’t belong?'”
As for their behavioral, physical and mental development, take a look at the environment they’re doing their schooling in. It should be quiet with no distractions, and everything they need for school should be within the room.
Additionally, the environment should be away from where they would typically sleep.
“Teachers will realize that kids do well in a group setting or they do well in a corner, not necessarily focused or facing anybody else to kind of keep that attention,” Nolte said. “So, knowing what the school set up was like for your kid is definitely very important.”
Taking breaks from virtual learning can help your children get some activity in to move around.
For keeping up their social interactions safely, Nolte recommended doing virtual play dates with their friends.
Most importantly, the two experts said parents should remember they don’t have to flip their entire routine around. Instead, implementing one thing a day can go far.
“Just doing what you can as parents,” Edelman said. “There’s a lot on people’s plates and so just trying to add one little thing.”