A mountain load of changes greeted APSN students, parents and staff alike when mandatory Home-Based Learning (HBL) was decreed in early April. These developments came in the form of the revised modes of communications, routines, learning methodologies and even who taught whom.
Ms Gan Hui Hoon, a social worker at APSN Katong School (KS), and the rest of the Allied Professional (AP) team made special arrangements to meet the different needs that emerged.
Firstly, the APs supported the students without caregiver support who were in school by:
- helping students to transit to unfamiliar teachers, adapt to new routines and order meals; and
- briefing teachers on how to teach these new additions, what homework each student had, as well as the strengths, weaknesses and risks/trigger points of each child.
They also supported the school’s HBL efforts through the making of online resources (social stories, visual schedules, fine motor skills craft for occupational therapy, sensory kits, speech exercises and more).
“The whole AP team worked hard during HBL: we continued counselling/therapy sessions through Microsoft Teams or WhatsApp video calls, and this went on even during the school holidays,” she says.
Some parents experienced anxiety with the change of learning style and routines. The first week of HBL was spent teaching caregivers and students how to use Microsoft Teams. “As a social worker, I helped them to be emotionally stable. When the parents were able to manage themselves, they could better manage their children.”
One parent who had mental health issues experienced a lot of anxiety because of the social isolation the stay-home regulations resulted in. There were many cases like her.
The AP team stepped in to provide emotional support to parents, and shared with them self-care tips, community resources such as helplines, and a virtual care pack.
Ms Gan affirms, “The AP team and I are glad that we could accompany the parents and students who went through this tough and special journey together. We survived the storm because we held on to each other throughout.”