April 22, 2020-UPDATE
Hello KidSHINE Community-
I hope you are all hanging in there, especially after today's announcement from the Governor. I can tell you as a parent myself, I had mixed feelings about the decision to close schools for the remainder of the year (especially when I saw how sad my own children looked today, knowing that they would not be able to end this academic year with friends and the teachers they love). I know that the decision for schools to remain closed was not taken lightly, and I also am aware that this creates an ongoing, less temporary situation for families, with juggling online schooling from home, trying to figure out working from home and trying to keep children active as well as physically and socially engaged while maintaining social distancing. Since hearing this news today, I have been trying to figure out the best way for KidSHINE to continue to support your children and your families during this pandemic.
KidSHINE (as an outpatient OT clinic) is considered in the Phase 1 of the re-opening guidelines. I still do not know when MA will decide to enact Phase 1. In the interim, we are going to continue to offer 100% telehealth sessions, which many of you are already choosing to participate in. Brie and Danielle have almost full telehealth caseloads already, and I am seeing as many clients as I can myself as well. We have two additional therapists (Aviva and Melissa) coming on for limited telehealth appointments (one day each) starting in the next few weeks. We will also be offering Saturday teleheath sessions, to help parents who work long hours during the week, but who want to be available to participate with their child in a telehealth OT session on a Saturday.
Telehealth is a temporary support solution until we are able to return to the office, and we recognize that it is not optimal for everyone, so our expectations are to just be there for children and families who need our support and do whatever we can to target skills in the interim. We are finding that some kids do great with telehealth, some do better with in person sessions, and some do differently depending on the day. Generally main goals of telehealth are to work on co-regulation, connection, and to provide consistency, predictability, and individualized strategies for children during the pandemic. We encourage parents to participate in sessions and spend time talking to your child's therapist about strategies to implement at home during the quarantine.
KidSHINE Phase 1 ReOpening
When Phase 1 has been cleared to begin in MA, we will start to gradually shift to offer limited in person sessions in our new Rowley location (Amesbury will remain closed at this time), in addition to continuing telehealth sessions for the majority of our clients. The actual date that we can re-open is still tentative, and when we do re-open, we will have specific regulation in place to keep everyone safe, which I am currently researching (so I can have everything ready to go when we get the go ahead). I am torn with knowing how badly some children need to be back in the office for input, face to face contact, etc, and making sure we don't prematurely open, as I want to ensure the safety of the families and my staff, but I am working diligently and staying up to date on the changes so we can re-open with Phase 1 as soon as we can (I will keep you updated). We are fortunate to have 6 separate treatment rooms and 6 entry/exit doors in the Rowley location (in addition to extensive training in infection control and sanitizing as healthcare professionals), so we can offer safe treatment with limited exposure to others, which that definitely helps. As always, we continue to respect each family's individual decision about what they feel most comfortable with, and we are fortunate to have options.
Virtually Live Bootcamp 8 Week Session
In an attempt to continue our bootcamp program through the spring, in light of school closures, we are offering our "Virtually Live" Interactive Zoom Bootcamp Classes in an 8 week session starting next week. We have been holding free classes for the past two weeks, which have been AWESOME! (I LOVE seeing all of your kids in action!)
Tomorrow you will see an email fromBrie with details about the sign up/ registration for an 8 week session of KidSHINE Bootcamp for preschool classes (Mini Kiddos), recreational/ conditioning classes (Strong Kids 1), therapeutic self regulation/ exercise classes (Strong Kids 2), and teen light weightlifting (ages 11 and up). Each weekly class is 30 minutes of intense exercise, using our KidSHINE Bootcamp Program, tailored to each particular age group/ ability level. The kids who have tried out the classes have LOVED them (especially because they get to see and exercise with their KidSHINE Instructors and friends, and I am streaming my classes from the Rowley space bootcamp room). We know these classes are not a replacement for our "in person classes", so we will be offering summer credit for families who had previously registered for our Early Spring Bootcamp Session. That said, we encourage therapy clients and bootcampers to take advantage of this 8 week virtual class as a way to stay active and healthy and to promote social engagement and exercise. I suspect these classes will fill VERY quickly, and if they do, I will consider adding an additional weekly time slot for each class that is full.
How to Sign up for Different Options
If you would like to be added to the telehealth schedule, and/ or be added to the list for in person sessions when we re-open at phase 1, email Terri at firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know. You can remain on telehealth instead of in person when we re-open if you feel more comfortable with that, as we will phase in with a mix of both and you will have the option of either. If you would like more information about the Virtually Live Bootcamp 8 Week Session that starts next week, you can email me, and be on the lookout for details and the sign up link from Brie tomorrow!
Stay strong, be well, and hug your kiddos from all of us at KidSHINE
Dr. Amy Wheadon, OTD, OTR/L, CPT, YES
Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Certified Personal Trainer
Youth Exercise Specialist