Transitioning Back into School Online and at Home
Daily routines and schedules are an essential part of success for entering back into a regular school routine. For those students who are going to be doing school online or in some form of a hybrid model, planning to enhance executive functions by helping the student be organized, plan ahead, initiate and follow through on assignments and much more is needed. For those students who have challenges in being and remaining focused and those who struggle with learning, the development of a successful plan is critical.
Our students have entered a school year with many unknowns. As many students with ADHD, autism spectrum disorders and learning disorders may be limited in their ability to be flexible, parents want to build a predictable structure at home.
Several components of this home “structure” should be:
- Set the school day up according to the same amount of time a regular class may be, included short breaks into the day after each subject. If the student is mature enough, they can schedule the times of classes starting and ending and breaks into their phone or tablets.
- Establish planned physical activity. We want the student, who is learning at home even more than in a traditional school environment, to have the ability to get up and move around and to have a physical outlet to better help them manage their stress and anxiety.
- Preplan times for the students to interact with peers, if safe to do so, then in person by following guidelines including distancing, wearing masks and using hand sanitizer. If additional physical distancing is necessary then parents and more mature students may want to set up virtual “play dates” and “hangouts” with peers.
- Encourage students to have direct contact with their teachers and trusted other adults who support them, on a regular basis, schedule this into their weekly routine.
- Be as open as grade and age appropriate with the student. When changes need to occur, help the student plan for unexpected changes. Leave communication open, we want to encourage the student to advocate for themselves and ask for clarification when uncertain of situations.
Dr. Eric J. Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed., A.S.D.C., is a Developmental and Behavioral Specialist and since 2012 has been the Founder and President of the Support for Students Growth Center in Boca Raton, FL, where they provide social, academic, behavioral and emotional support services online Nationwide.