With the COVID-19 virus hanging on for the duration, I’m saddened to see all the children running around with masks.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want these kiddos to get sick and fully understand the importance of keeping them germ-free.
But, if you have a learning-disabled child, then you have to step back and take a breath. These are kids who have compromised sensory and learning systems to start with. And masks cover up part of their senses.
We don’t think much about smell. But it is tied in tightly with learning and memory. Just think about your mom’s homemade cookies, and you’ll get a vision in your head faster than any other sense. And these kids aren’t smelling when they’re wearing masks.
But that’s not all.
Kids with learning disabilities rely on expressions to get by. They memorize certain facial features to know what’s expected of them. They watch like hawks to see if the curve of lips is up or down. Expressions tied in with lips give them more information. Kids with auditory processing issues read lips, and believe me, there are lots of those kiddos flying blind now.
They become masters at it, so much that many dyslexic students will admit they’ve figured out answers to tests just by looking at the teacher’s face. These are simple coping mechanisms they’ve figured out to make learning and life easier.
Now, they’re left out in the cold. Not only are their mouths covered, but so are everyone else’s. And, even worse, they’re faceless. They are just forming their self-images, and so much of who they are is being covered up.
I can’t help but wonder how this is going to affect them long-term. We also know that these kids are usually extra sensitive with certain materials, and masks are certainly going to be a nuisance…if they even leave them on.
I ordered clear plastic shields for our kids to wear in our private school. I don’t know if they’ll work, but I’m sure they’ll be better than masks. At least they’ll be able to see facial expressions.
At least they won’t be faceless!