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Learning in the Age of COVID-19: How to Help Kids with Distance Learning

Learning in the Age of COVID-19: How to Help Kids with Distance Learning

PR Newswire

STANFORD, Calif., May 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Many families have struggled to help their children adjust to distance learning since schools closed in March due to COVID-19. In a recent blog post from Stanford Children's Health, experts offer ideas and advice for parents and families, including for children with special needs. The article is available on Stanford Children's Health's website: https://healthier.stanfordchildrens.org/en/learning-in-the-age-of-covid-19-how-to-help-kids-with-distance-learning/.

In the article, Barbara Bentley, PsyD, clinical associate professor of pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine and a specialist in developmental and behavioral pediatrics offers tips for helping kids with distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:

  • Recognize the scale of the challenges. Be gentle about the expectations for yourself and your child.
  • Help your child prioritize their academic tasks. This can be accomplished by writing out a schedule for the day, and tackling the most challenging assignments first.
  • Include a mix of activities. Remember that the normal school day isn't exclusively focused on academics: kids usually have PE, music, art, library visits, recess, and lunch. At home, encourage social time via virtual meetups with friends or extracurricular activities that use virtual platforms.
  • Make time to be outside. At least half an hour of daily outdoor time and physical activity is important for maintaining mental health for both kids and adults.
  • Have open conversations with children about the things they miss. Giving kids room to vent about their difficult feelings should be the priority, rather than trying to "fix" the situation.
  • Use this time to teach life skills. Kids can learn skills that get less emphasis at school, such as how to tell time, measure ingredients for recipes, help with gardening, perform chores around the house, and problem-solve with siblings or other family members. It's even OK for them to become bored, as skills like patience, waiting your turn, and finding a way to amuse yourself are all valuable.
  • Expand your use of kid-friendly educational resources online. A princess- or pirate-obsessed kid might enjoy watching a video about a famous jewel, while a science-minded student might like conducting an experiment about how soap inactivates the novel coronavirus. (Many more ideas are available here).

Some families are facing additional challenges because their children have developmental or learning disabilities usually treated at school. "Children with special needs may be going without the behavioral treatments they usually receive, which can lead to serious escalations in challenging behavior and real lack of developmental progress," said Grace Gengoux, PhD, director of the Autism Intervention Clinic at Stanford Children's Health. Gengoux offers advice for helping children with special needs:

  • Keep organized and maintain predictability. It's more important than ever to have predictable daily structures and visual schedules to help keep children with special needs on track of what's going on.
  • Explore telehealth options for your child's care. In some cases, speech therapists and other specialists are able to provide care for their patients virtually. For others, in-person treatment for children with developmental disorders is considered an essential service and can continue; further information about this and many online resources are summarized in the COVID-19 information provided by Stanford Children's Health's Early Support Program for Autism.
  • Experiment with how interactive technology may fit your child's needs. Focusing on a child's existing interests to engage them in online learning is a great strategy for any kid, but that's especially true for children with autism who have restricted interests. Families of kids with special needs can use this time to embrace the child's interest and use those as an opportunity for self-directed learning. Examples of helpful resources are shared in the blog.
  • Continue checking in with your child's caregivers. Pediatricians, child psychiatrists and other therapists are here to be your professional partners during these tough times.

About Stanford Children's Health

Stanford Children's Health, with Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford at its center, is the Bay Area's largest health care system exclusively dedicated to children and expectant mothers. Our network of care includes more than 65 locations across Northern California and more than 85 locations in the U.S. Western region. As part of Stanford Medicine, a leading academic health system that also includes Stanford Health Care and Stanford University School of Medicine, we are cultivating the next generation of medical professionals and are at the forefront of scientific research to improve children's health outcomes around the world. We are a nonprofit organization committed to supporting the community through meaningful outreach programs and services and providing necessary medical care to families, regardless of their ability to pay. Discover more at stanfordchildrens.org

Media contact:

Kate DeTrempe



Cision View original content to download multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/learning-in-the-age-of-covid-19-how-to-help-kids-with-distance-learning-301064060.html

SOURCE Stanford Children’s Health

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