SLPs have traditionally conducted their work through face to face interactions across school, clinic and home settings. This is also the case for many educators and other allied health professionals. Although the advent of distance learning in school settings increasingly had a higher emphasis on STEM and specialized programs, few agencies were using distance learning as a primary or hybrid learning method.
Prior to the pandemic, an estimated 4% of therapists used telehealth. During COVID, the increase went to 70%.
We were all fast tracked to share knowledge, practices and conversation across home-school-clinic. It took us through a roller coaster of cognitive-social-emotional adaptations.
Yet, that ‘talking time’ at school, home and with colleagues created a connectedness. We have shared a lot of mutual experiences. We can relate to one another. And those shared contexts build connectivity with one another.
Some ‘talking topics’ shared among us and through emerging studies:
Knowledge and Preparedness
Many need to be more trained and prepared for remote learning.
Coordination for students, families and staff can help:
- The home-school schedule and availability
- The sequence of activities
- Technology access and skill
- Lesson readiness and collaboration
- Adequate time/space
Programs based on family needs or preferences created a shift in awareness, lesson planning and collaboration among teachers, specialists and families. It requires considerable ongoing flexibility in lesson learning, emotional and social support.
Collaboration. Understanding each other and working together
There are always fluctuations at our schools, homes and clinics.
Sometimes it helps to remind ourselves: We’re in this together to support each other, understand our differences and strive to work through our changing times.
Some of us were able to restructure our work/school/home lives. Others experienced a highly stress-filled time and felt unable to adapt for a variety of reasons. Many parents did not feel equipped to participate in online school lessons and homework. In one survey, approximately half of SLP respondents noted that home-based environments were not conducive for practice.
We have an opportunity to revise our delivery methods with continued efficacy through distance learning. Everyone benefits from efficient use of time.
Families, health and education providers used a variety of methods including synchronous and asynchronous practice/work times that were more convenient, and motivating.
During this time, self-paced learning has grown in interest by educators and students. It continues to require considerable study across neurotypical and neurodivergent populations. Metacognition, learning styles, contexts and strategies have been highly motivating for some but not for others.
Although much research needs to be done in this area, current literature shows equal and in some cases higher success rates within specific populations studied.
Choices: Blended, hybrid and distance
STEM activities increased use of blending tech programs in the classroom. Some schools provided synchronized in-class and home-based live streaming at school while others have chosen asynchronous remote learning when necessary or combined alternately with classroom learning times.
Developing choices that create home/work/practice balance, motivation and learning can be advantageous for many learners.
One of the gifts over the last few years highlights our connectedness with each other through these shared contexts of home-school-clinic. We are all change agents not only within our environments but more and more talking with each other and building our connections.
Learn about our adjunctive tool for your students: at home, at school and in the clinic. Build your talking time connections! Get Puppet Academy today!