By Linda Bonnar, MA, CCC-SLP, ATP, Director of Communication Pathways, Pine Tree Society

Navigating remote learning from home will be a part of our daily lives for the foreseeable future.  Whether your child’s school is a hybrid or a full distance learning model, some degree of online learning is going to take place.

Knowing that, how do you maintain the communication skills it took your child, with support of their educators and therapists, months to achieve?

Regardless of your child’s age, grade, or developmental level, there are three key aspects of their school day that need to be considered and addressed when looking to provide carryover of communication skills – and even building upon them – at home.

1) Literacy

Reading, whether to themselves, out loud, or being read to is emphasized and immersed in more than anything else during the school day.  Carrying over the level of literacy that kids are exposed to within their educational environment is critical for maintaining communicative levels for students.

2) Peer Interactions

Within the school environment, students are surrounded by peers. This level of expressive and receptive language is unparalleled in other aspects of their life. Figuring out creative ways to mimic this level of exposure is so important in providing carryover of skills. During this time of physical distancing, video and phone chats with friends and family are particularly helpful as are free resources available across the web that help keep you connected to the larger world.

3) Talking

Wait… what? Our grand idea for carryover of communication skills is to talk? Yes! We need to mimic the level of communication that students receive throughout their school schedule. Asking questions, answering questions, describing events and making requests are language functions that happen frequently throughout the school day and are essential in establishing, building and maintaining language for students who are struggling in this area.

So, how are you going to incorporate these three key factors into your child’s day? The same way their teachers do: establish a schedule. Create a schedule that works for your lifestyle and incorporates as much of this as possible and stick to it!

Remember, you are not alone.  Pine Tree Society is here to support you and your child through telepractice speech therapy appointments.  These remote services are available using Zoom, which is a user-friendly video conferencing technology that is easily accessed from any device. Reach out to schedule an appointment today.  Contact Linda Bonnar at or 207-386-5931.

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