Supporting Our Children Through Uncertain Times: A Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak

I recorded this podcast a bit last minute, but just didn’t feel right putting out my originally scheduled episode. I talk about tips for parents, kids, and some great free online resources that are great for speech therapy activities to do at home and teletherapy as well.

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Full Transcript of Podcast: Supporting Our Children Through Uncertain Times: A Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak

Episode 64: Supporting Our Children Through Uncertain Times: A Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak

You're listening to the Speech Space Podcast, a podcast full of tips and resources for SLPs. I'm your host, Jessica Cassity, and this is Episode 64. 

Hey there! Today, we are going to be talking about supporting our children through uncertain times, which is a show that I created in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Before we get started, I did want to say that I have opened the doors back up to The Digital SLP membership site because I have received some emails asking me about this due to all the school closures. So I'm not going to be heavily promoting this opening; this was not a planned opening. You know, due to the nature of the situation, it's not something that you're gonna see a lot about. But I did want to let everyone know who is listening and I will reach out to my email list as well. The opening is not going to be highly or heavily promoted due to the nature of the situation. But I did just want to let you know that the doors are open since there is such a high need for teletherapy resources at the moment. So if you would like to learn more about that, you can head on over to

So I have to be honest, this was a little bit of a last-minute podcast. It is Monday night, and the podcast goes out on Tuesday morning. Generally, I record at least a few days out and I try to even record further out than that but you know, I just felt the need to do this since there have been so many changes going on in our world right now. So for the first half of the podcast, I'm actually going to be talking more to SLP moms. And then the second half of the podcast, I'm going to be just talking more about resources for materials for speech pathologists. And things that they can send home to families or links that they can share with families for online activities and things that they can do that students and kids can do at home. So I just wanted to throw that out there.

So the first thing that we're going to talk about, like I said, is some tips for SLP moms to kind of get through this situation. So my first piece of advice is to avoid tuning into the media while your children are around or awake. If you have to choose to watch, or if you know, you really feel like you need to be updated frequently throughout the day stick your headphones in your iPhone. You know, kids overhear a lot of things and they don't always know what to make of it. So I think it's really important that we're not exposing them to the media right now because the media has a tendency to, what's a good, "PC" word I can use here? You know, the media can be a scary thing for a young person, so it's really just best for the adults to tune into that. And I think that you know, keeping the TV off and you know, catching up on everything in the evenings when your kids are in bed, it's just a good way to keep them out of it.

All right. Number two, keep a predictable rhythm. There's so much chaos going on right now that children really thrive on consistency and rhythm. What I personally did is I created a basic daily rhythm chart to use at home with my kids. I do not have a freebie link for that or that setup but I'm happy to share that with anybody who's interested. So if that's something you're interested in shoot me an email at and I can try to see if I can share that with you. It's got a nice little watercolor background and it's got our day laid out. You know, I don't have it in front of me right now, but it's something like wake up and do breakfast. I think instead of writing "learning time" I did like, I wrote "create and explore" just to make it sound a little bit more fun. Nature walk after that, I think lunch, and read-aloud time, and more create and explore. And I feel like I'm missing, I'm definitely missing something. Like I said, I don't have it in front of me. But anyway, you know, I just let my kids know over the weekend. We have a new rhythm that we're going to be sticking to for the next few weeks and we hung it up and my kids really kind of clung to that - not in an unhealthy way - but they just referred back to it. I guess that's probably a better word than clung. But they refer back to it throughout the day. And it really seemed to give them a sense of calm because they always kind of knew what was happening next and they know exactly for tomorrow what to expect as well. So anyway, like I said, we're going to try to stick to that each day just to provide some predictability during this huge change to our structure and flow.

Number three is to teach best practices for good hygiene. You know, most of us have heard the rule about singing happy birthday twice using warm water. Not sharing hand towels. I feel like this has kind of been beaten to death. So I'm sure everybody is pretty well-versed in hand hygiene and coughing into the elbow. So I'm not going to spend much time on that.

Number four, empower them. You know, teach them that there are things that they can do to keep their bodies strong, like eating vegetables, and exercising, and getting enough rest. And that's not just in response to the Coronavirus. I mean that's just something that we can be teaching our kids anyway. You know, just so that they have control over their bodies, and what they do with their bodies, and what they put in their bodies. I think that's something good for them to learn early on.

Number five, reassure them. Communicate to your kids that we can, and we will keep them safe, and that there are lots of people working very hard around the clock to protect us. And that, you know, because of this, we are all going to be okay.

Number six is to keep them busy. There are so many activities, and I'm going to get into that in just a minute. And I've created a couple of different posts of some activities that you can have your kids do. But there's just a lot of really cool stuff that's happening right now. Where a lot of sites are doing special things knowing that all the kids are home from school.

Number seven, get outdoors. Fresh air and sunshine are good for the soul. And you know, it's a great exercise to get out as well. If you only feel comfortable going into your backyard and then do that. But if you have local parks and I should differentiate, not playgrounds. Parks like open, you know, like paths and open fields. If you feel comfortable going there, do that or take a walk around your neighborhood. It can just be a really nice way to break up the monotony of the day and not only for your kids but for you as well.

All right. So let's go ahead and move on to some tips for SLPs who have been asked to send materials home to families. You know, any sudden change can be difficult to cope with, not only for students but for us SLPs too. To have to prep for the unexpected scenario of doing teletherapy or prepping loads of materials to send home or email out. It can be daunting. So I wanted to share some online resources that are all free that can make it easier. And I want to let you know that I put a couple of these in blog post format to make it easier for you to refer back to. I'm just going to kind of talk through a few of the things that are out there right now as options.

So number one, and I've talked about this before, use your public library card but from your internet browser. So if you do that, you can access many books, audiobooks, video clips, and more through your public library. You can have a lot of access to a lot of really cool features.

Number two, Khan Academy. So they have loads of free activities and books and videos on their site. They even actually have a sample schedule going on right now for different grade levels with suggested activities. And I have to say that I really love, love, love that they are recommending outdoor time and family time and exploring your passions for the K through 12 crowds from 1:00 to 7:00 PM. They're not saying you have to do that the whole time but they're just saying like after one o'clock, that's what you should be doing. And I believe it's actually not that far off for the upper grades as well. I think it's maybe after like 2:00 PM or something. They suggested the same thing. So I really like that that is part of the schedule.

Let's see here. Number three, there are a lot of people doing some Facebook Live and other things on Facebook to help out while kids are out of school. So Mo Willems, the author, the children's author. He is doing a Facebook free video series through, I think it's March 27th, and it's called Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems. And I will link to that in the show notes, but that is a daily thing, I believe, where he is just kind of drawing and chatting with the kids. And my friend, Stephanie from Music For Kiddos, is doing a Facebook Live this Wednesday at one o'clock Eastern Standard time, where she's going to do music and story live. And I'm really excited about that. She's actually going to be joining me on the podcast for Episode 66. So if you do tune in and you like her then you most certainly want to make sure that you come back for Episode 66.

And let's see, number four, because of all these school closures, like I mentioned, I did create a Roundup post. And this one, this post is strictly of digital, no print resources, which are going to be great for teletherapy. And I do want to mention that it's important to read the terms of use if you're thinking about sharing these with parents or uploading them on Google drive. Because I am featuring different resources from different sellers, and everyone's a little bit different. I am personally fine with both of those things with my resources assuming it's a Google drive that's only accessed by students that are on your caseload. And that's generally the stance of other SLPs as well, but you always want to read the terms of use within their resource just to make sure that you're operating within their terms of use. So the link to that is and that will be posted in the show notes, so you can easily link out as well.

Mystery Science is my number five. I love Mystery Doug! I love Mystery Science and my kids love it, too. Most of you know that I'm homeschooling this year, and my girls so look forward to his Mystery Science activities. And I don't know what they're called, they're shorter lessons. They're like mini lessons, like five minute videos. I think that is actually what they're called mini lessons. So they loved both of those. And the Mystery Science website is actually making their most popular lessons and videos free right now due to all the school closures. And not only are they offering their content for free, but you don't even need a login to access it, which is pretty cool.

Number six is Sparkle Stories. This is a subscription site. However, they offer some stories for free for you to try out. And one of them is about fear. And I think this is the perfect time to be tuning in with kids and talking about this. The name of the story that's free is called Denny and the Could Bee: A Story for Worrying. And you don't need an account to listen to this sample. So I will go ahead and link to that in the show notes below, but feel free to poke around on the site while you're there. And you can listen to some other free stories as well or have your students listen to them rather, and, you know, talk about some of those feelings that they might be having. I do want to say that our family really loves Sparkle Stories and we do the monthly subscription but that's because we believe in them so much. They're just really gentle and kind stories. And you don't have to worry about scary parts or questionable values or negative language or anything like that. But I think it would be really cool if you did listen to that free one. And you could either create like a supplemental guide to go along with it to maybe tackle some vocabulary and questions and social skills, you know, touch on the emotional piece as well. And if you didn't wanna, you know, make something, you could just listen to it or you could have it like as an assignment and then talk about it together depending on the goals that your student is working on. I do also want to add that I'm not an affiliate or sponsored by them in any way. I just believe in their stories.

Okay. Number seven, so there are just so many great online resources for children that are free. As I was going through these aloud, I just decided that I'm just going to do a Roundup post of all of them. As I started going through the list, I figured that it would just be better to have a go-to link where you can see them all at a glance. So I will put that in the show notes as well, of course, but just so you know, you're going to be able to find that at

All right. Number eight, this might seem a little obvious, but it felt weird not to mention, but do a search for freebies on TPT. There are tons of free stuff on there, and you can download it for free. So it would be easy. Also if you're a parent wanting to have an account and you could recommend different TPT resources that they could just download rather than you having to download them and send them. But whatever is best for you or recommended to you from within your school or your district then obviously you want to go with that. But there are some different options there.

All right. Number nine, familiarize yourself with teletherapy. This might be a possibility for many of us so it doesn't hurt to get acquainted with the idea. My friend, Sarah Wu over at Speech Is Beautiful, did a video where you can actually watch her do teletherapy. And I will make sure to link to that in the show notes below as well.

Okay. So I appreciate you all tuning in. And if you'd like to access the show notes from today, you can go to Like I mentioned at the beginning of the show, the doors to The Digital SLP membership are open right now due to all of the school closures and the high need for teletherapy materials. So if you'd like to learn more about that, you can head on over to Okay, my friends, please stay well. And I look forward to chatting with you again in a couple of weeks.



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