Let Learning Continue…

Can you believe it is already nearly December and our children are nearly finishing up their year at school.  Your kids have worked hard this year and they deserve a rest over the December holidays. Just because school is ending though it doesn’t mean that learning has to end, there are so many great activities that will help keep your children entertained as well as providing them with opportunities to keep on learning.

Some activity ideas for the holidays are:

  • Go on educational outings to the Zoo or other museums around Gauteng. The JHB offers holiday programs.
  • Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is an amazing interactive science and technology centre, it is open 7 days a week including public holidays except Christmas Day and Good Friday. It is R30 for kids and R45 for adults. They have holiday programs too.
  • Go have a picnic at one of our beautiful parks or Botanical gardens. Your children can draw a picture of the wildlife or write a story about your day.
  • You can go camping in your backyard and let your children use their imagination to make up an adventure. If you don’t have a tent you can set up a fort using blankets and towels.
  • Playing board games. There are some really great board games out there that you can play together. Games like Scrabble, 30 seconds, and Pictionary are great for spelling and increasing vocabulary. Games like monopoly are good for entrepreneurship and maths. Even simple games like cards or snakes and ladders are good for counting and learning to take turns.
  • Baking and cooking are really great practical activities that get kids involved, this is great for practicing measuring and it is an extra bonus if the kids get to lick the spoon afterwards.
  • Arts and crafts activities are great for children’s creativity and fine motor skills. Crafts can be Christmas related and they can be done using recyclable material.
  • I’m sure your children will be wanting to spend time with their friends and family but if you see that they are spending their days only watching TV, or playing electronic games then implement a no technology rule for an hour a day where you force your children to go and play something or make something not technology related.
  • With your children having more time on their hands it may be a great opportunity to teach them the value of volunteering. There are a lot of different options such as spending time at an animal shelter, visiting an old age home, making gifts or food for people who may need it in your community. Charity SA has a list of different organisations that may need help.
  • I personally love reading and I can’t wait for the holidays when I get time to get stuck into some novels that have been waiting for me on my bookshelf. Reading to your children is an activity that you can do everyday. Your local library may also be running story time or holiday programs. It is important that your children see that you also love reading , a family reading time can be implemented every week where everyone in the family stops what they are doing and they read for an hour.
  • If you are travelling for the holidays try to take some books with you and some cards and portable games such as chess. You can also play some fun car games such as memory games and I spy.

Remember it is also ok to let your children be bored, it is usually during these times that they use their imagination and come up with creative games to keep themselves occupied.

Happy Holidays!

Written by Samantha Bolton – LSU Remedial Therapist

How you can help your child if you suspect drug abuse

Drug abuse is a serious social problem in South Africa, statistics recognise that drug abuse is even higher among youth. At Sparrow Schools we aim to prevent and stop the abuse. We do so by investigating and provide intervention when we suspect drug abuse.

Because drug abuse can lead to school dropout and other severe social problems we aim to inform parents and guardians about the possible signs and symptoms of drug abuse. Parents and guardians play a significant role in monitoring your child’s behaviour to ensure that they receive help as soon as possible. Possible signs and symptoms include:

  • Change in pupil (Dilated or constricted)
  • Red eyes
  • Sudden weight loss

If your child is also showing abrupt changes in their attitude, behaviour, habits and priorities they might be exposed to drug abuse. A more common indicator is if your child is also experiencing financial problems (pocket money often going missing) or start to become involved in criminal activity. From our experience learners experiment with social habits that are not as addictive as synthetic drugs. When the learners experience with these social habits such as ‘Hooka pipe’ ‘hubbly’ they don’t realise that the contents are combined with contraband. In most cases the content is mixed with Heroin or Methamphetamine.

If you suspect that your child could be involved with drug abuse, confront them in a neutral environment. Help your child understand why you are concerned by referring to suspicious behaviour and give them the opportunity to proof their innocence through a urine drug test. These drug tests are available at most pharmacies and is easy to use. As a social worker I encourage a drug-free society and encourage all parents and guardians to intervene if they suspect any abuse. More information on rehabilitation is available from http://www.sancanational.info/.

Does your child have difficulty hearing and understanding speech? Here are some explanations

What is an Auditory Processing Disorder?
Auditory processing disorder (APD) is often described as greater than expected difficulty hearing
and understanding speech even though no measurable hearing loss exists. Individuals with
Auditory processing disorders may act as though a hearing loss is present when in fact, hearing
sensitivity is often within normal limits.
A learner with APD may present with some of the following:
• Poor listening skills
• Difficulty following oral instructions or classroom discussions
• Frequently saying, “huh”, or “what?”
• Difficulty with phonics or letter-sound correspondences, sound blending, or segmentation
• Difficulty decoding unfamiliar words
• Poor spelling
• Slow fluency of reading
• Poor reading comprehension
• Difficulty understanding in the presence of background noise
• Poor attention, day dreaming, high distractibility
• Give slow or delayed responses to oral questions
• May be prone to behaviour problems due to frustration or boredom
• Avoidance of reading or other difficult task
Suggestions to assist a learner with APD
Encourage your learner to become a “detective” in finding strategies that work best for their
learning style. Ask them what works for them in the classroom and encourage them to self-monitor
as much as possible.

Some other ideas include:
• Writing directions on the board
• Preferential seating such as making sure the learner sits close to the front of the class
• Limiting background noise during desk work, or wearing ear plugs
• Presenting directions in short segments using visual cues if necessary
• Accommodating your learners longer response time by increasing waiting time so that you give
them a chance to process your instruction
• Asking the learner to repeat back what you said silently to themselves/to you
• Rephrasing and repeating what you have explained in simple sentences
• Maintaining structure and routine so directions are predictable
• Assigning a buddy to your learner so they can check their understanding with their buddy

 

By: Candice Tu, Speech-Language Pathologist