For parents with Medically Complex children this is a truly tough time. You are not only concerned about your child's fragility, but you want to keep them engaged. Engagement for a medically complex child is more than turning on a movie or watching an episode of their favorite show. This means creating ways to keep them mentally stimulated because they learn differently, in addition to keeping up with exercises to keep their body mobile and eliminate trauma, like bed sores, lesions or chronic regression from the progress they have made.
Keeping our children physically engaged during this time is crucial because we want to keep them healthy to avoid any episodes that would land them in the emergency room (remember that is not a place we want them right now).
I have some suggestions for you that will ease your mind and create an opportunity to keep your child academically stimulated and safe. REMEMBER don’t be hard on yourself. Just do the best you can, and do not allow yourself to feel overwhelmed or stressed. Additionally, for more clarity on your child's specific needs, refer to their IEP and utilize that information to assist you with creating continuity from what was being done in school.
*Don’t be bashful to contact your child's education team and ask for tips and suggestions.
Physical Therapy At Home
If your child has orthotics, remember to use them as much as recommended by your child's medical team.
Stretching and movement, YouTube is a fine resource to use. There are tons of videos providing you with ideas you can use. Here is one.
If you have apparatuses like a stander, gait trainer etc. at home, create a routine and leverage it to get your child moving.
Again, leverage YouTube for videos that show examples and provide ideas for you to mimic at home. There are so many wonderful resources Check this one out.
If you have children older than your medically complex child, allow them to assist with activities to make it fun for your child. This is also a productive opportunity, for the children to bond and engage in socialization.
Create a space for your child that can offer them calmness when they are feeling overwhelmed, check out this article for helpful ideas to get started.
Create opportunities to ask your child how they are feeling. Start a journaling activity and initiate talking prompts that evoke conversations. During this time you can affirm your child and give them positive reassurance about their feelings.
Virtual therapy sessions are an emerging option for many people. Services like Teledoc are available to assist with virtual therapy sessions. Also, you can call your insurance provider and find out more about these services.
Speech Language Pathology
Reading to your child and using flashcards is another way to encourage speech skills.
This sounds redundant, but online videos are an outstanding resource. Additionally, check with your therapist and ask if there are videos they suggest or if they are willing to video chat with you. Here is a resource.
Parents, remember you do not have to do it all in one day. During this time, it's important that we don’t overwhelm ourselves with being perfect, rather do what we can do, to get us through the day. These tips and suggestions may not be universally appropriate for your child, due to their needs, but this is a way to help you jumpstart ideas.