- Tell me about yourself and your practice. How did you get started?
I am a small private practice that I started full time 2012 and part time since 2008. I started the practice out of my home (my transformed dining room) where it remained until 2015 when I hired an employee to help with evening work. We moved into an office in Lake Hiawatha and then ultimately to where we have been since December 2018, which is in Livingston.
- As we have all navigated through the most uncertain school years over the last year and a half, how can parents best prepare their children for the transition to fulltime in person schooling?
I would try to revert back to our pre-pandemic way of preparing for school, which is to gather school supplies, new clothes and new sneakers, with the addition of new masks. Things will continue to look and feel differently in terms of wearing masks, needing to hand sanitize, maintain 3 feet, etc. In every other way, I encourage parents to prepare for the upcoming school year like any other year.
- What are signs that a parent should be on the lookout for in regards to educational disabilities such as anxiety, ADHD, etc?
high agitation, sleeplessness, over sleeping, over or under eating, difficulty with transitions, difficulty with handing in assignments on time, difficulty attending, difficulty understanding lessons and completing homework
- What are some tips and tricks that a parent or caregiver can use to help engage their child when it comes to their school work?
- Set a timer and work against the timer
- Take movement breaks
- Pair end of homework with an incentive - IPAD time, etc
- Break down complex tasks into parts with time limits
- Depending on your child, either start homework right away or offer an hour of decompression time (without screens) prior to starting homework
- What is the best advice you can share to a parent who may be struggling with a child who is having difficulty in school?
Reach out to your child’s teacher and offer your observations. Monitor your child’s struggles and request an I&RS plan, 504 Accommodation Plan or IEP depending on the severity of your child’s struggles and your teacher’s observations and documentation of progress or lack of it.
- What are some recommendations to setting up an in home school environment ? (i.e. for homework after school or any virtual learning that may come with this new school year).
- Create a work space designated for completing homework assignments that is not in a central part of the house
- Keep the work space free of materials
- Make sure all needed materials are inside a desk drawer or basket
- Place the desk in a corner of the room between two walls that are not near a window or door to minimize distractions
- How are you addressing back to school anxiety with the rise of cases with Delta and growing uncertainty?
Some of our children are not as afraid of the virus as they are to the return to school and the social interactions that they are anticipating. Social anxiety is at an all time high. Our children need guidance in navigating social interactions. I believe that our children, our younger children, need and want permission from their parents to socialize. We have developed the idea that socializing and interacting with other people is unsafe. As parents, let's give our children and teens opportunities to be with other children and interact with each other. Parents may wish to keep social time outdoors or with a limited number of people.
For children worried about the virus, parents should confidently state that we will follow the safety precautions of masks, distancing, and vaccines when they are available to our children under 12 and to not share their uncertainties about the virus. Additional tips include : Avoid sharing new facts about the virus and keep the tv off in terms of the news regarding the virus.
- Let’s talk a little bit about vaccines, masking and schools. As we all know, it has been the controversial topic over the last few months. How are you seeing the effects of the policies, vaccine mandates and hesitancy, masking policies and the overall unknown of what this school year may bring affect the children you work with?
The anticipation is the worst part of it all. Our children are used to wearing the masks. As parents, we want our children in school because education is best served in school. The good news is that the number of cases were not that high in the schools and that’s good.
Ideally, it would be great if our children didn’t heave to wear masks so they can see each other and their teachers. I think our kids crave and miss the usual interactions, sitting next to each other and not having to worry about how far or close they are to each other.