Remote learning isn’t easy. Helping a special needs student navigate it isn’t easy either. Here are some strategies to improve outcomes and reduce everyone’s stress about it:
- If your child’s OT has created a sensory diet for them, this is the time to use it. A sensory diet is a series of activities and actions that support the brain’s ability to regulate alertness and emotional arousal. If there every WAS a time to get serious about a sensory diet, it is now. Your child needs every advantage to stay calm and focus. If you never drilled down and tried it, ask for a review of the techniques, and don’t be shy about admitting that you don’t use it as often as recommended. We know you are overwhelmed. We are too!
- Your learning environment matters. Take a look around, and remove distractions. Remove things that don’t distract you, but could distract your learner. This may mean that you put up a tension rod and a drape that blocks a window, another room where a sibling is learning, or even the view to the snack cabinet. It may mean that cheerful signs go down. It may mean that the room you are using is the wrong room because it is too bright, too warm, too noisy, etc. Kids with learning differences don’t get motivated by lots of decorations; they get distracted. Teachers get enthusiastic about decorating their classrooms, but they don’t have sensory processing or learning issues. Don’t make things harder for your child.
- Positioning matters. The chair height and desk/table height will affect your comfort and attention span, so you have to think about how it affects your child. If your OT is virtual, you can send photos and videos of your set-up and get feedback. This may not require a purchase. We can help you use the materials in your home to make your equipment work better.
- How much sleep is your child getting, and how much rest, play, and fun? Some kids are way over scheduled, even with COVID, and some aren’t getting a chance to be creative. Make sure that you have puzzles, art supplies, crafts, and other ways for your child to explore. You might find that you can throw off some stress by painting or crafting as well.
- Consider therapeutic listening. I am using Quickshifts Quickshifts: A Simple, Successful, and Easy to Use Treatment For Regulation, Attention, and Postural Activationwith almost all my private clients, and it is helping them focus on Zoom sessions. Even parents that were skeptical of this treatment have come on board. They see the difference it makes!