As an Occupational Therapist (OT), I typically make annual suggestions for back-to-school transition helps for college kids with particular wants. A buddy’s latest social media submit that spoke of the standard emotions of pleasure usually emanating from her niece and nephew being changed this yr by uncertainty and anxiousness prompted me to increase the idea to incorporate concepts for ALL kids returning to highschool. Psychological well being and well-being seem like a spotlight with many states releasing ESSER plans that help Psychological Well being and Social Emotional Studying (SEL) Methods. Main care physicians and different well being care practitioners report shifts within the focus of preventative healthcare increasing to incorporate discussions of dealing with stress extra holistically.
On the whole, most kids thrive on construction and predictability, social interactions, and play in addition to counting on steady and wholesome grownup relationships. These ideas have all been affected by the pandemic with modifications in class routines, cancellations of social occasions and gatherings, together with the added stress of their grownup caregivers. Typically labeled “Complicated Trauma” as it’s extra long run and much reaching, we are actually seeing the consequences of this in a new psychological well being disaster.
Together with different nationwide organizations, the American Occupational Remedy Affiliation (AOTA) has compiled a listing of those back-to-school assets. As well as, take a look at these 5 well timed transition ideas that could be simply integrated into SEL and Trauma Knowledgeable Care practices to help all college students in an effort to cut back anxiousness and help psychological well being and well-being:
- Establishing construction and routine are important for stability. As well as, visible schedules could assist in decreasing anxiousness. Typically included as a studying technique for college kids on the autism spectrum, a visible schedule shows a transparent exterior construction for the college day, and physiologically could also be calming for college kids. Though day by day and weekly actions could differ, the routine of utilizing a visible schedule could assist present security and predictability. Like above, utilizing a visible timer can also be helpful, particularly for college kids which will battle with consideration and/or visible spatial ideas of analog or digital time readouts.
- Follow mindfulness utilizing motion and breath. Stress and anxiousness can set off the sympathetic nervous system which, in flip, prompts the combat, flight, or freeze response. Deep respiration workout routines are a basis for normal mindfulness, meditation, and yoga practices. Childcraft Breathe with Me Carpet Squares present a visible cue for the inhale/exhale course of and are tremendous simple to implement. Physique Poetry Yoga Playing cards additionally use image cues to reveal fundamental motion and postures. Each breath and bodywork could assist counteract stress by tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system, which alerts the physique to cease the emergency response and relax.
- Provide choices for decreasing sensory overload. College students with sensory processing points could typically be overly delicate to the touch, motion, sights, and sounds whereas people experiencing trauma could have heightened states of arousal which can mimic this hypersensitivity. Choices to cut back auditory overload like noise-cancelling headphones or ear plugs could also be useful as are choices to cut back/filter visible lighting enter like Cozy Shades. Creating Sensory Areas is essential to any studying surroundings to offer a secure haven for college kids to regroup and develop self-regulation expertise.
- Deep contact strain and heavy work actions activate the proprioceptive system which can assist promote calming and organizing responses. Pulling a heavy wagon, sweeping with a brush (with further weight hooked up), carrying a load of books, or performing a collection of wall pushups are all fast actions to include this sensory technique in the course of the day. As well as, weighted merchandise like lap pads, stuffed animals, or blankets can also assist help this self-regulation.
- Lastly, be sure you present help for expressing emotions and feelings. Many college students could discover expressing their emotions intimidating or difficult so utilizing help instruments to encourage self-awareness and self-expression could assist with SEL expertise.
Go to our web site for extra concepts on transition ideas. Let’s assist all college students really feel secure, supported, and robust this college yr!
Cecilia Cruse, MS, OTR/L has a BS diploma in Occupational Remedy from the College of Florida, and her Grasp’s diploma in Schooling from Georgia State College. She is SIPT licensed and has over 25 years’ expertise in pediatrics with school-based companies, acute care, and outpatient pediatric settings.
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