Embracing flexible thinking in the new normal of back-to-online-school

August 13, 2020 BY Renee Limon

This would be the time we start seeing the first day of school pictures on our friends’ timelines in a normal year. Oregon schools go back to school fairly late, compared to other states, so I’m often feeling a bit envious that other families are getting back to the wonderful structure and support of the school year.

As for this year? I haven’t seen any of those photos yet, and maybe that’s a good thing. Many districts are opting for a virtual start to the school year, which elevates student and staff safety over the benefits of face-to-face learning. I’m still hopeful for a school year that eventually gets students and teachers back into the brick-and-mortar school buildings. Yet, I’m willing to be patient and understand that it will happen when our state and districts are safe and ready for that step. My kids are both wishing for that too. While they made the best of a difficult situation last spring, and we thankfully had a reliable internet connection that kept a family of four supported through a lot of online learning and work, there’s no question that they miss their friends. They miss the high-fives from teachers. The laughter and busy vibe of a big high school hallway. The games, the after-school activities, the dances.

So what do you do? Bury your head in the sand and call it a gap year from life? If only. Instead, we are taking some time now to remember our strengths and accomplishments through a challenging time, and focusing on strategies for moving forward. Flexible thinking got us to where we are now and can help us keep moving forward. When I look back on the last few months, it’s still sometimes surprising that life has changed so much. Yet when I reframe it, I can see how much is still the same and that there is so much to celebrate.

>Our clinic is open and thriving. In April, we pivoted to all online therapy, leveraging our company’s expertise in the online speech therapy space, and adding online occupational therapy to our suite of services. If you are curious about what that looks like, one mom shared what online OT is like for her family.

In July, we opened for limited in-person therapy. We knew that online delivery wouldn’t work for every family. We had to reinvent the way we do business in the clinic to make sure we were keeping it safe for our families and staff. It’s been such a treat to see our families back in our clinic space. We also resumed in-person speech and occupational therapy evaluations for some families. Our default is to use online therapy whenever it makes the most sense. We created a new services page to keep you current of all of our best practices for providing speech and OT during this time.

One thing that hasn’t changed? We always love to chat. Having a trying time getting your child to wear a mask? We can help. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s development or behavior, or you are wondering if they are ready for virtual kindergarten this September, please call or email. We will always listen and help you find the best way to move forward. 

As for those back-to-school pictures, I hope we’ll still take and share them. While our kids may just be walking from their bedrooms to their learning spaces down the hall, I love the hopefulness of those smiles and the growth you see in kids every passing year.