The Big Pivot
First, and most importantly, I hope this blog post finds you all healthy and safe!
That's really all that matters!
These strange and unprecedented times have thrown us all for the proverbial loop and presented the biggest challenge many of us will ever have to face.
Never before have we, as a country, had to deal with a scourge as widespread and insidious as Covid-19.
But I suspect (and hope) that if we, as a nation, play it smart and listen to the advice of the world's medical professionals, we will eventually be able to nip this sucker in the bud.
(I promise: that's my last horticultural reference for the day.)
Of course, and each one of you knows this firsthand, this has not been easy.
Every one of us has had to adapt....financially, maritally, parentally and professionally.
Personally being in California, one of the harder hit states, means my family and I are adhering to the strict shelter-in-place edict of our Governor.
We will venture out only when absolutely necessary (to get groceries or medicine) and, even then, we'll be in full PPE (personal protective equipment) mode: N95 face mask, rubber gloves and disinfecting wipes.
If Hazmat suits were affordable, we'd probably stock up on those.
And when we walk the dog, we carry a pole to make sure fellow walkers don't stray within our social distancing radius.
Never has the phrase I wouldn't touch him with a ten foot pole resonated more deeply.
Parentally, because he lives with, our 22-year old son has to adhere to our own recently imposed Johansen Martial Law.
Kris is not allowed to see his girlfriend until things blow over.
The result? He's raging at us almost as much as his hormones are raging within him.
The notion of absence making the heart grow fonder is not making him any fonder of his parents.
We don't care. If it takes threatening to take away food and shelter from our son, as a way to keep us all safe, so be it.
Financially, our mom and pop educational toy company, SmartFelt Toys, like so many other small businesses across the land, has taken a big hit.
With the cancellation of Convergence 2020, the annual conference for the California Speech and Hearing Association (CSHA), we lost a huge amount of our yearly income.
And secondly, our core group of SmartFelt customers (SLPs, teachers, clinicians and OTs) has temporarily (I hope) diminished...primarily because well, they're not seeing kids at this point.
Which brings me to the biggest pivot many of us have had to make.
Professionally...most of you - my colleagues - whether you're fellow Speech and Language Pathologists (SLPs) or Teachers, Clinicians, Occupational Therapists (OTs), Physical Therapists (PTs), or other educators, have had to adjust to the fact that your schools, clinics and daycare centers are shut.
And for many of us, that means entering previously uncharted waters: like tele-therapy.
I'll be honest, this has not been simple for me. I'm an old-school therapist suddenly thrust into a high-tech world!
I'm most comfortable in a room, face-to-face with my kids. There, with toys and resources they can touch, my kids can get the full sensory experience of an in-person therapy session.
But now, out of necessity, I have had to embrace the new reality, a new (for me) technology and a new way of doing therapy!
So yours truly is now holding sessions via Zoom.
Once I figured out the basics...which took a while and some coaxing from my husband ("Come on honey, you can do it. You're super smart and it's not as daunting as you think it is! You just haven't done it before.") i must say, it's gone really well.
Not bad for someone who a couple of weeks ago needed and app just to explain what an app is.
It's great to see my kids again. Those smiles. Cute voices and boundless energy.
They even seem happy to see me.
They are in remarkable spirits, which is a tribute to their parents. I can't even imagine how I would have explained the current situation to my 22 year old when he was their age.
By no means am I claiming to be an expert on tele-therapy; I'm certainly not. It requires a special set of skills and generous community that Speech and Language Pathologist are, I've taking advantage of all the resources out there that can help me figure it out.
And so I'm slowly figuring out how to create activities that the kids and I can do together, so that I can work with them on their individual speech and language needs and still make it fun.
And when I get stuck by something technical during a session, guess who have been functioning as my own little IT department? Yup; my kindergarten to second graders. They are already super tech savvy.
The future's looking bright. Maybe we should let our kids work on eradicating this virus. :)
Stay well. Be safe.
PS If you'd like to support our small business during these difficult times, please go to SmartFelt Toys . Enter SLP at checkout for a 25% discount AND FREE My Little Seasons ($12.99 value). Don't add seasons to cart. We will add to package. Thank you!