Schooling is a continual concern for parents and teachers of neuro-diverse learners during this pandemic. The government have advised secondary schools to test their students for Covid-19 and this may cause some anxiety among parents who may wonder how their child will react or respond.
In my experience, the one approach that has never failed me is ensuring a student knows what to expect. For a neuro-diverse learner, the uncertainty is a major trigger for outbursts and meltdowns. This is a proactive approach which is always a good idea. If we see something coming, it is only fair to prepare the learner adequately.
Interestingly, I don’t believe in giving a child a poster to read, because in as much as a student may have literacy skills, by giving them an article in this situation, we are expecting them to access their comprehension skills which may be discrepant from their word reading level, this means that we are not certain that the learner will understand everything they are reading. It is simply not a sure way to help learners know what to expect. Furthermore, using visuals is not child like, but are easier for learners to remember rather than lots of text.
Therefore, using visuals and pictures is recommended. These are easy to go through and I would advise parents to go through the story a few times over a few days before the test and then to use the 4 steps during the test, mainly so the learner can keep track of what to expect and how they are progressing.
Please download the following:
- Covid test at school. This should be read to the student several times before they have the test done. Parents and carers can go through the story 3 to 4 times a day. You can start as late as one day before the test. It is never too late. Repetition is key so as to consolidate the concept and turn the expectations into even rote memory if needed. This will have a significant impact on alleviating anxiety during the test.
- Covid test steps This should be taken in with the learner when they do the test. You could laminate it and have them check of the steps with a whiteboard marker as they go through the test.
I hope you find the attached resources beneficial. If you have any questions, please reach out to me.