Virtual Sessions Challenge, Inspire Therapists Working With Students With Disabilities

The sudden loss of routine and structure because of the pandemic can be disorienting for students. Teletherapy sessions are one way to help with that.

By Elizabeth MyongApril 15, 2020 4:55 pm, , , , ,

From KERA:

Across Texas, some districts are now offering teletherapy services to students with disabilities. But as the first large-scale launch of its kind, teachers and therapists are having to get creative to meet the needs of their students.

The sudden loss of routine and structure can be disorienting for students, said Dr. April Estrada, director of Special Population Services at Region 10 — which serves North Texas school districts.

“Overall, the biggest thing just looking from the student perspective, kids love structure and routine whether or not they realize it or not,” she said. “I think the biggest challenge right now is to have that disrupted and that especially impacts our special education students as much as it does everyone else.”

Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to share an update in a week about when or if the state’s public schools will reopen — which could make adapting to virtual learning even more important.

Teachers are encouraging students to use visual schedules that they can easily reference throughout the day. They’re also offering parents sample schedules and guidance on how to manage their child’s time.

Estrada said therapists are also showing parents how to make do without the tools usually available at school.

“Go into your kitchen and we can tell you 10 things to do with your Tupperware that might be able to be used in our lessons,” she said.

Region 10 lead physical therapist Dr. Lois Goodin said household items can easily be made into fun activities while working on things like motor skills.

“For instance, if they don’t have a lot of balls around they might roll up some socks and play games with those, or throw those into laundry baskets for targets and different things like that,” she said.

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