Of green screens, face masks and shields

What COVID-19 has led us to, is unprecedented. From a worldwide healthcare concern, it has evolved to social, political and economic concerns. Just as our understanding of the virus evolves, its effects on us also evolves. How we do things as human beings drastically changed. We are social by nature but this virus prevents us from being physically together. We love to talk and communicate our thoughts and feelings but this virus placed a mask on everyone. When we are allowed to finally see our friends and relatives in person, the mask continues to hide that smile or frown that is the overt manifestation of how one feels. The mask can now serve as a guise on how vulnerable we truly are in the midst of the pandemic.

As a professional whose main job is to help people communicate, we are now tasked do things online, facing the screen with our clients on the other side of the line. Armed with our creativity and clinical judgment, Speech Pathologists are now digitalizing materials, designing online cards and games and even donning costumes to provide more engaging therapy sessions to children online. Now more than ever, we get to work with our clients’ family directly, we see their home environment and observe the family dynamics when it comes to teaching children. When we see children in person, we are tasked to do our job while donning personal protective equipment (PPE). The mask and and the face shield were initially bothersome but one gets used to them. Things can get overwhelming and tiring but the realization of one’s vocation is what matters most. We are able to support families, provide our services and give intervention to those who need it most. The mode may be different but as therapists and educators, we continue to be in the helping profession and this pandemic challenged everyone to level up in terms of service delivery. We have to continue to hold the door, for every person with disability and for every family who feels lost. We also need to hold the door for each other, to remind each other that in the midst of our wanting to give more of ourselves, we have to be kind to ourselves too.

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