Our every day lives have changed due to COVID-19 and this changing environment has come with new demands. Although difficult, we are adapting and innovating with our clinicians every day. Supplemental Health Care’s Center of Excellence has partnered with its school professionals and partners to rise to the unique challenges of this time. Together, we have continued to provide essential school therapy services through innovative learning options.
Innovative Learning and School Therapy
School professionals are doing everything they can to keep their students safe in these unprecedented times, but also help them thrive as well. This new world provides the opportunity to find creative solutions and school therapists are innovating every day. Using their problem-solving skills and compassion, they’ve found new ways to connect during online therapy sessions, involved family members in care, and overall made a difference in their students' lives.
Impact on School Therapists
School therapists have always managed a large spectrum of responsibilities. Traditionally, they are responsible for making sure every student has what they need to succeed. This can include improving communication and speech or addressing various health and wellness concerns for the children they support.
In this new environment, these responsibilities remain but have greatly evolved and even expanded over the past few months. Therapy has moved to digital platforms with therapists utilizing innovative learning sessions. Now, in addition to traditional responsibilities, they are doing additional planning for sessions, scheduling outside of school hours, creating ways to engage students online, and parent coaching.
Innovating During COVID-19
It makes sense that school therapists would be innovative, they often need to think outside of the box to keep students on the right track. School therapists are having to utilize their communication skills even more right now while coordinating with parents and students across a new medium. Their ability to listen, think critically, and respond in a helpful manner is also a huge plus for achieving outcomes in this new landscape.
A typical innovative learning session isn’t typical at all because we are all figuring it out as we go with the resources available. While the delivery method has adjusted, the model and goal of the session has not. Here are some tips to follow to make the process more streamlined.
- As with any therapy session, be prepared and have confidence. Showing and sharing that assurance will help your students succeed.
- In this new space, a quick technology check would be good to ensure all is functioning properly and you have a backup whiteboard or notepad in case technology freezes.
- Discuss a variety of activities in order to keep the student focused and motivated. Perhaps a mix of worksheets, websites and even YouTube videos.
- Give clear goals, provide effective feedback, and enough realistic at home activities for next session to be held.
- Creating a strong line of communication with parents will make adapting easier and can make the learning process for your students more engaging and fun.
- See what tools and resources are available to you from your school, professional association partnerships, and your employer.
Importance of Technology and Partnership
As the pandemic forced schools to close, many administrators took on new challenges with providing essential therapy services to students. SHC was able to provide assistance to school districts across the country via their partnership with DotCom Therapy. DotCom Therapy is experienced in implementing alternative therapy solutions to assist our school professionals and partners.
DotCom Therapy is the country’s leading therapist-founded teletherapy company. They offer various types of therapy services for children via a face-to-face online platform including speech therapy, occupational therapy, mental health counseling, school psychology, and educational audiology. DotCom Therapy and SHC together, ensure that students can continue to receive the services critical to their growth and development.
While we all navigate the new normal, remember you’re not alone. Take it one day at a time, and know you are a powerful force in your students’ success.