Under the strain of coronavirus, schools, centre services, and other recreational services across the nation are getting shut and children and parents are home with nowhere to turn to for support with developmental needs.
With a hopeful heart that life will bounce back and public services will be restored soon, we list down five things that you can do as a parent of a special needs child to support the safety and continuation of learning for your child–
1. –help your child create a daily routine that they can stick too. Creating a visual routine that the child can look at and follow is highly recommended. Include activities of daily routine like bathing, brushing, cleaning, etc along with self-engagement activities like completing a writing worksheet and watching tv. Use all the time at hand to focus on teaching your child basis of self-care. Maybe it’s even the right time to start with hand-wash as a skill to learn.
2. with center-based therapies not available to go to, regularise your child’s occupational therapy support by working with a sensory diet that includes home-based activities and tools. Have a professional create a specialised sensory diet exclusive to the needs of your child and follow that as part of your daily routine.
3. – This is your chance to establish the bond that you otherwise find hard to maintain amidst running from school to therapy centre and fulfilling your child’s daily needs. Spend time and engage in play. Do activities that you otherwise miss to do and do everything with the intent of bonding with your child and watch the magic unfold in the way your child will start relating and responding to you.
4. – It is widely believed by psychologists that humans have the ability to respond to the feelings behind the spoken words, even when they lack the necessary language skills. Talk with the intent to bond and relating to your child and watch how they gradually learn to and respond to your emotions and words. The consistency with which you engage may also help them get the unstructured speech therapy support, that they are missing with the centres being unavailable.
5. – sitting at home should not be a reason for the progress of your child to stop. Continue with the OT, Speech, special education and skill-building support from the comforts of your home. Take benefit of the comprehensive home-based therapy model offered by organisations like Mom’s Belief to continue structured therapeutic intervention for your child. Have an experienced therapist train you to be a therapist for your child and teach him/her various skills that are lacking or emerging. Continue with comprehensive support that will not just help you provide for structure and routine to the day but also incorporate every therapy need that your child may have using the tools and resources to keep your child engaged throughout the day.
Closing with a note to all parents with children of special needs, today, when the times are tough, let us be the star, the silver lining in our child’s life and take charge of their growth and development. You never know, that in the process, you may end up teaching your child a very important life lesson of never giving up and finding strength within when there is none outside.