This is a uniquely stressful time for us all as we come to terms with a changed society, at least for the moment.
With schools and adult education classes closed, one of the things we have been asked is how to continue with learning.
Your child’s school may have sent homework to continue while the schools are closed. You may have SLT activities to work on. You may be continuing with our See and Learn Programme. Or you may have nothing structured in place, and want to know if you should find something.
We believe that the priority at the moment has to be whatever keeps you sane. If that’s plenty of structured activities, that’s great, and we’ll be increasing our online resources to help you find things to do. If it ends up being lots of screen time, that’s ok too. This is an unprecedented emergency situation, and reducing stress and anxiety for everyone in the family has to be the priority.
We will be posting suggestions each week for things that you could do at home. We’re busy creating resources for adults with Down syndrome to access on the website. They are suggestions, not instructions. You can also call or email.
Remember that everyday activities are positively educational. Learning how to make toast or make a sandwich involves planning, sequencing, language, fine motor skills, and there’s something to eat at the end of it!
Talking, listening, singing, dancing are also great things to do, with many positive effects.
If you can manage structured activities, the type of things that are always helpful are:
• Reading (reading to your child, reading together with your child, or encouraging them to read.)
• Writing, typing or drawing (or other fine motor skill activities such as Lego or playdough)
• Practical maths using things like cooking, laying the table, counting things, pairing socks, etc
• Movement. Try to get some movement into every day. If you need to play indoors, balloons are less likely to break windows than balls. Teenagers and adults can use their phones to count steps or play music and dance, or find an online exercise challenge.
It might be helpful to make a simple calendar, and put something in each day to look forward to. It doesn’t need to be anything complicated. Sitting down together with some popcorn to watch a favourite movie. Setting up a video chat with a friend or family member. Looking through old photos together. Playing a game.
Non-stop news reports are not good for anyone (particularly at the moment) but it’s important that people with Down syndrome understand what’s happening, and that the changes are only temporary. We will keep updating the guide to the virus that you can find here...
Remember that the most important thing at the moment is to keep your own stress to a minimum. The old airplane rule of putting on your own mask first applies here. Hopefully the measures in place will help to contain the spread of the virus, and we’ll all be able to get back to some kind of normality soon. In the meantime, mind yourselves, and call us if we can help with anything.
Take care and stay safe.