Edu-Therapy in Covid Times
Edu-Therapy’s Adaptations in Covid Times
Darlene Rose DeMaria
As an educational therapist in private practice for many years, my heart is sad to admit I have not seen a student in person since March 2020. I have practiced exclusively over ZOOM (grateful for this tech tool) with students, parents and colleagues.
Do I miss being with students in person? Absolutely, and yet I know how difficult it would be for me to practice the required physical protocols to keep us both safe. My hat goes off to our classroom teachers who are now teaching in person amidst the fact that our little ones are not vaccinated. Teachers now required to work in person even though there have been break-through cases. They are also required to enforce a myriad of challenging health precautions as well as deliver curriculum. Adapting to these new normal requirements is stressful and showing up for each child complicated and demanding. As a teacher there is the need to personally relate and connect in order to foster rapport and salient learning, as well as address underlying socio-emotional needs following these isolating months of on line learning.
At this time my practice is supporting students exposed to this ‘new normal’ classroom delivery model. Some measures I know would challenge continuity and connection in my own practice are:
· Masking throughout the session thus muffling verbal instructions and verbal remediation tasks
· Observing physical distancing and still being effective making consistent rapport a fleeting reality
· Possible plastic shields between us which breaks down a sense of ‘feeling safe’ and imposes a silent ‘I am here with you, not hiding from you’ posing another barrier
· Inability to ‘get into a number of the hands-on therapies’ because of the antiseptic measures having to be consistently followed
I tend to get involved in a number of my individualized therapies, which include gross motor and physical movement activities. It would be difficult to reserve myself while getting into the delivery of each specialized educational therapy session.
Currently, I am practicing remotely until we hear positive news regarding our children’s vaccinations as well as news assuring us Covid cases are going down, not surging as we work to contain the Delta variant.
I am looking forward to a ‘new normal,’ which will include time to safely come together. To be able to practice in person, unguarded, listening and celebrating the fact we have collectively dowsed the fires of the Covid virus. Oh happy day ~ as we celebrate the rewards of our personal responsibility and walk forward with a new awareness to live a compassionate, caring life.
I love Dr. Dan Siegel’s books, The Whole Brain Child and Brainstorm. In Brainstorm he includes this simple reminder at the end of his The Healthy Mind Platter section: (3G – 2P) which stands for Gratitude we have for being alive on this planet, the Generosity we can bring to others in connecting with them, and the Giving back we can practice each day as we serve the well-being of others. The 2P is we bring Gratitude, Generosity, and Giving back to other people and to the planet.
©2021, Darlene DeMaria