Back to School

Back to School

Happy and healthy back-to-school greetings to everyone! I can’t believe that summer is already over. As the days get shorter, and the air becomes cooler, there are many transitions occurring. ‘Back-to-school’ encompasses not only a change in schedule, but also a change in the demands placed on children and families. As schedules fill and change, I think it is important to remember to be a ‘flexible thinker.’ The idea of flexibility seems simple; acting with flexibility is relatively more difficult. However, flexible thinking allows us to be better communicative partners, and to more fully participate in the world around us. Flexible thinking facilitates open communication, more effective problem solving, and the development of social relationships. As therapists, we work on flexible thinking in various contexts, and both directly and indirectly.

With some children, it is important to be explicit about what flexible thinking ‘is’ (that is, what it looks like, feels like, sounds like etc). With other children (and arguably, with all children), simply modeling flexible thinking and behavior gives them great learning opportunities.
On a related, ’back- to-school’ note, I recently read an article, ‘Back to School Transitions: Tips for Parents’ (Feinberg and Cowan). The article was about easing what can be a difficult transition for both children and families. There is also some useful information about organization (both of space and schedules). One of the suggestions I interpreted as most functional and healthy was a consideration for how to start each day. The authors suggest starting the day with an activity instead of the television, for example, coloring, looking at a book or engaging in a preferred play routine. This is a way to better prepare the child for the academic, social and mental stimulation that awaits them during the school day.

I am a language ‘geek.’ (I suppose that is one reason I love being a speech-language therapist.) Language and cognition are tightly coupled. For these two reasons, I really liked this idea of mental preparedness, but in a fun way (of course!), at the start of each day.
If you would like to read the article in its entirety, you can find it on the National Association of School Psychologist’s website.
Here is the URLhttp://www.nasponline.org/resources/home_school/b2shandout.aspx

Once again, happy back-to-school. I look forward to seeing you and your family around the clinic. Happy Birthday to Micah (as per his request)!

Be flexible. Be kind. Be well.

Hannah

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