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Your Guide to Telehealth Consultations for Neuropsychology

Parents and children are faced with a variety of challenges in reacting and responding to the ways COVID-19 affects their families. Many find themselves at a loss for how to handle this crisis. We want to help. That’s why our neuropsychologists are available for consultation, via telehealth, to assist you.

What is telehealth consultation?

Telehealth are essential health services provided via phone or through a video. Telehealth allows you to get the assistance you need while also keeping your family safe. Using telehealth, our neuropsychologists can answer questions, guide services, and help your family navigate next steps.

What questions can consultation answer?

  • During e-learning, I noticed my child has a hard time in a certain subject, such as reading or math. Is this typical or should they be tested by a neuropsychologist?
  • My child has a hard time sitting still and focusing, is this ADHD or e-learning?
  • I am worried my child is falling behind developmentally, what can I do?
  • My child was already diagnosed with ADHD, how can I make sure they continue to learn and grow?
  • What are the next steps in advocating for my child to get school-based services/accommodations?
  • How can I get other services (speech, OT, ABA, etc.) started for my child?
  • My child already has school accommodations, how can I make sure they continue in the fall? How can I adapt them to reflect any new concerns from e-learning?

What we can do through consultation:

  • Provide information for you to decide whether a neuropsychological evaluation would answer questions you have about your child’s developmental needs
  • Help guide services and find appropriate supports for your child
  • Collaborate with schools to navigate how your child can successfully return to their educational setting
  • Work with service providers (OT, speech, ABA) to problem-solve any new or existing concerns
  • Answer questions about past evaluations in light of new stressors or challenges

NSPT offers services in the Chicagoland Area. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help!Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Managing Your Child’s Stress During COVID-19

This week, the head of our Neuropsychology Department offers some advice on how to manage the stress your child might have during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Life has changed. 

Restaurants are closed. Playdates are scheduled over zoom. The classroom is now our kitchen table. Our world has grown smaller. While this can be difficult for us, it can be even harder on children. It’s difficult for children to understand Coronoavirus and to process how and why all of this is happening. But we can adapt, we can survive, and we can help our children through this. Here are some things I’ve done to help my six year old during the pandemic.

  • Avoid the news (on television and social media).
  • Have daily/nightly routines such as family movie nights, game nights, etc.
  • Do activities that you normally would not do such as camping in the basement or in the backyard.
  • If there are multiple adults in the household, take turns with eLearning.
  • Keep a schedule for eLearning and for the entire day (we thrive with routines and structure)
  • Try to think of activities to change the day such as going for walks or car rides.

Remember, brighter days are ahead. We will all get through this together. Not everyday needs to be perfect, forgive yourself for being frustrated with this “new normal”. Patience and hope will see us through.

If there are concerns about your child’s behavior or learning, we recommend scheduling a Neuropsychology consultation to discuss any evident issues.

NSPT offers services in the Chicagoland Area. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help!Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

E-Learning Tips from an Occupational Therapist

We’re back with more tips on how to help your child finish the school year out from home. This week, we asked one of our Occupational Therapists for some tips on how to help structure your child’s new school day. Here’s she had to say.

Set the Expectations

  • Create daily, morning, or afternoon visual schedules or calendars and include e-learning subjects (math, reading, OT, PT, SLP, etc.) – Utilize pictures or words depending on the child’s reading abilities.
  • Review expectations before e-learning sessions begin (i.e. whole body listening techniques, sitting quietly, keeping hands to self, staying in our seat).
  • Post expectations or rules for e-learning on a wall next to the child’s e-learning space. For example, post a visual display of whole body listening techniques or hang a list of 5 rules written or created by the child.
  • Discuss incentives for following the expectations/rules throughout an entire e-learning session.

Set up a Designated Environment

  • Create a work space that is special for e-learning. If you can set up a particular desk or table that is only used for e-learning, this can help children set expectations and boundaries in the home setting. If a separate space is not available, utilize an “e-learning clipboard” or other materials that will make this space particularly special and unique for e-learning opportunities.
  • Place all necessary materials in reach (pencils, paper, crayons, scissors, workbooks).
  • Provide special writing utensils or materials that can only be used during e-learning (i.e. smelly markers, colored pencils, etc.).
  • Minimize distractions. An e-learning workspace should be far from TV, toys, etc. to improve focus and attention. Position the child’s workspace in a clutter-free area with minimal visual distractions. If necessary, provide headphones to minimize auditory distractions.

Provide Opportunities for Movement

  • Before an e-learning session begins, provide at least five to ten minutes of sensory opportunities for heavy work or general gross motor movement. These can include: animal walks, yoga poses, or other proprioceptive activities.
  • Allow opportunities for movement during e-learning sessions (i.e. stretch breaks, chewable pencil topperwiggle cushion, etc.)

NSPT offers services in the Chicagoland Area. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

5 Ways to Maintain Language Skills During Social Distancing

Social distancing may be challenging for children with speech and language disorders, as it limits decreases their daily opportunities to practice language with others. In addition, having to transition to phone calls and text messaging as opposed to face to face communication may be overwhelming for our kiddos with speech and language disorders.

Never fear! We’ve outlined 5 ways to stay connected and practice pragmatic language while maintaining social distance.

  1. Virtual connectivity. Facetime or Zoom friends, grandparents, and others! Virtual connectivity with a visual, socially interactive interface provides a multi sensory input for kids to socially interact while maintaining physical distance
  2. Physical exercise! There are many free programs offering online classes right now for physical exercise. Try out an aerobics class at home with your child in the house. Turn it into a language opportunity (i.e. sequencing activities you did in the class, how it felt to exercise, etc).
  3. Spring cleaning. Spending more time in the house we have increased opportunities to organize our homes. Have your child put items into groups, sorting, organizing, and sequencing to practice their language skills.
  4. Daily routine and structure. Establish several times a day where everyone in your home will complete an activity together each day to reduce the thoughts and feelings of social isolation (i.e. having one meal together a day, going for a walk at a certain time each day, reading a book together at the same time each night).
  5. Creative activities. Encourage interactive activities that involve interactive social exchanges at home. Turn your living room into a “park” and have a picnic on the floor, build blanket forts, and encourage other creative activities your child may be interested in to promote language and social connection with the family.

NSPT offers services in the Chicagoland Area. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

5 At Home Speech Language Activities

Social distancing proves to be a challenge for families with children who rely heavily on structure and consistency in their daily schedules. That’s why the implementation of parent home programs is essential now more than ever to maintain carry over of learned therapy skills. Here are some tips to make therapy at home fun while providing structure.

  1. Provide correct modeling of speech and language
    Turn ordinary conversation into opportunities to practice speech and language goals. Provide correct models whether it be articulation, language and grammar skills, or social pragmatic skills. If your child makes a mistake, (i.e. incorrect usage of speech sound) rather than correcting their error, continue to provide the correct model of the desired speech sound.
  1. Create visual schedules
    Many of our kiddos can benefit from visual schedules. Advantages of using a visual schedule include but are not limited to: helping remaining calm/maintaining self regulation, providing the child with a positive routine with predictability of what to expect next, increasing receptive language skills with the use of visuals, increasing language processing skills with the use of both visuals and written text, promoting sequencing skills (first, second, now, later), and providing structure in the child’s day to day life.
  1. Practice verbal routines
    Using verbal routines for children with language disorders is an excellent way for children to foster language development in their daily lives. Verbal routines are when you use the same words/phrases in an activity every time (i.e 1, 2, 3 or ready, set, go!). These routines are predicable and provide opportunities for the child to enhance their language skills. Verbal routines can be applied in both unstructured and structured tasks such as playing with bubbles, playing catch with a ball, or higher level cognitive tasks such as saying “my turn” before every turn in a family board game night at home.
    In addition, functional language routines can be found in nursery rhymes and songs. These songs additionally provide opportunities for labeling, object identification, and sequencing. (i.e. head, shoulders, knees and toes, if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands, row row row your boat).
  1. Provide opportunities for children to ask questions and make comments
    Set the stage for your child to ask questions during functional tasks that will give them the opportunity to ask questions or make comments. For example, if your child wants to draw or write provide them the piece of paper but leave out the pen or pencil to provide them the opportunity to ask questions in relation to the task.
  1. Read books out loud together!
    Reading books is a wonderful and fun way to practice language at home. Use books with predictable patterns that can be easily learned and require active participation from the reader.

Whether you are continuing face to face therapy at one of our clinics or beginning telehealth with one of our therapists, we are here to continue to serve you.

NSPT offers services in the Chicagoland Area. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!