MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — For children with speech or language impairments, educators at the McAllen Independent School District said they have been making sure those students do not fall behind.
McAllen ISD Speech-Language Pathologist Rebecca De La Garza said when students did virtual learning last year, teachers still did their sessions by keeping students with a speech or language impairment on track.
“That was really key and important to us is supporting the parents and that way they can understand how important it is to receive the services. There wasn’t any regression and if regression did occur, because it could happen, and that is something that we would address,” said De La Garza.
She said this school, being face-to-face, their main goal was to contact parents who had their children do teletherapy last year and reassure both them and their kids.
“Most of it was to find out if our kids were returning face-to-face and assure parents that they feel safe and that the service delivery for their children of speech and language impairments, they can be safe,” said De La Garza.
However, as in-person learning makes a comeback De La Gaza said there are already some challenges, one of them with distancing.
“Coming back to face-to-face is keeping that social distancing, we have the mask still in place, so there are still barriers which it is difficult but we are managing well,” said De La Garza.
She added that the district has come up with a strategy to fix the problem.
“We have these clear masks so they can see our mouth which is very important for speech-making, sure they don’t fog up all the time. That’s been a challenge but we’re finding ways around that,” she said.
Despite these efforts, district Speech-Language Pathologists Sandra Nino said they are moving forward one step at a time ensuring no one falls behind.
“Right now our therapy has been consistent, it has not stopped due to the pandemic and as the academic demand increases we may see an increase in a need for speech therapy services.” Nino added, “ but we are here ready and willing to test, evaluate, and determine if any of those needs need to be provided.”