Wearing Face Masks & Face Shields

Face Mask & Face Shield - The “New Norm”

Wearing a face mask has been our “new norm” since the first MCO, or lockdown, here in Malaysia and globally as well. They are also one of the key preventative measures to Covid-19. 

 

Additionally with the number of cases rising and rising, having double protection is increasingly becoming an important practice, so this means possibly wearing both a mask and a face shield as well! Let’s talk more about teaching your child to tolerate wearing both of these through a structured programme. 

 

Image Source: Freepik

Tolerance or Desensitisation

Building a tolerance to something can be very challenging for some children. “Tolerance” and “Desensitisation” are common terms used interchangeably at EAP. . They refer to an approach used to build up one’s tolerance to a targeted ability or skill. When a child protests or refuses something, it may just mean that they are not able to tolerate the item or skill just yet.

 

In this lesson, our goal is to build their tolerance to the face mask and face shield or to “desensitise” them to wearing the mask and shield.

 

At EAP, it is our common practice to do only 1 tolerance-based programme with any child at one time to ensure that the overall programme is successful for a child. 

Prerequisites & Materials

a) Prerequisites

  • Cooperation
  • Imitation
  • The ability to follow First Then instructions
  • The ability to wait

 

b) Materials 

Teaching Strategy

The general guideline is that the approach to teaching wearing either the mask or the face shield is the same.  Here’s how these programmes can be broken down.

STEP 1: Introduction to the Face Mask or Face Shield 

 

Under this category, there are 2 steps;

  • First: Touch the face mask/shield to the child’s face, then take it away immediately. 
  • Second: Touch the mask/shield to the child’s face and then try to put on the band for them before starting the timer.

 

STEP 2: Imitation

The adult can model the skill first before letting the child try it on their own. We can build the duration gradually starting from as low as 5 seconds per trial and then practicing it up to 3-4 trials. 

 

If 5 seconds is too long for your child, consider starting at perhaps 3 seconds first. The idea is to then build up a child’s tolerance till they are able to wear the mask for long amounts of time. 

 

This is what the breakdown of duration can look like. Remember, if your child needs this skill to be broken down even further, you can always adapt it to your child’s skills.

 

 

 

This is just a general breakdown of steps used for the purpose of simplicity of this lesson. Some children may need it to be broken down even more, some may not need it this broken down. Individualise the steps to best suit your child’s needs.

Let’s Teach!

STEP 1: Introduction to the Face Mask or Face Shield 

  1. Read the social story
  2. Show the video model
  3. Show the First Then board
  4. Give the instruction, “Wear mask” or “wear shield”
  5. Begin practice
  6. Reward your child for a job well done

 

STEP 2: Imitation

  1. Read the social story
  2. Show the video model
  3. Show the First Then board
  4. Give the instruction, “Wear mask” or “wear shield”
  5. Begin practice; Adult puts on mask/shield first, then puts one on the child
  6. Start the timer at targeted duration
  7. Reward your child for a job well done

Your Turn

  1. Check if your child is able to tolerate wearing either the face mask or face shield. If they are, for how long?.
  2. Break down this skill and start building your child’s tolerance to wearing the face mask or face shield.