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Thoughts from a Speech Pathologist About Social Distancing

My daughter and I went to Buc-ee’s last weekend. (If you are not from Texas, it is this giant gas station that has it’s own brands of snacks, cheap fountain drinks, yummy BBQ sandwiches, and FUDGE!). This blog post has taken a detour hasn’t it? It wasn’t meant to be an ode to the famous beaver. We went in to get our favorite snacks before picking up our curbside dinner order. It was odd. The stickers on the floor marking the six foot space, the way the clerk stepped away from the counter as we placed our snacks on it, the way everyone kept their space…just odd. That’s when it hit me. I am unsure what to do in this public setting. When I went to pick up our pizzas, I was unsure what to do. I kind of just stood at the door thinking “Do I go in?” and “There’s no sign! What do I do?” COVID-19 has brought in a slew of unfamiliar.

As I drove home, going over the events of my evening in my head, I realized this is just a SMALL dose of my clients with pragmatic goals deal with every day! Now, don’t get me wrong. I am in NO WAY comparing my Saturday evening to a child with pragmatic language delays. But, I am starting see the world through their eyes just a bit.

Fast forward a week later, and I am realizing a little bit more of their daily struggles. Our routine is out of whack. I am having to conduct therapy via the internet instead of my “in person” sessions. Things are different and unfamiliar. My mind has wondered all week how all of my clients are truly coping with this dramatic change in their life. If I am finding all of this odd, I can only imagine how they are processing this new “normal.” Plus we all know kids are very smart and can sense when adults seem “off.” They know we are concerned and worried. Every adult is coping in a different way. My way of processing all of this is apparently to not sleep. Just like adults, kid have their way of dealing with the uncertainties. My clients’ way of processing this comes in forms of meltdowns. During this time, we are talking a lot about maintaining a schedule even if it is not like a regular school schedule. Routines are important right now for EVERYONE! Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast are just a few ways to maintain the regular weekly schedule. No, the kids are not leaving the house but a sense of normalcy will help. I think you will find that it not only helps the kids but you as well!

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