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International study claims pandemic is costing children some basic skills

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A University of Indianapolis professor is giving perspective on a troubling new international study that says the pandemic is costing children some basic skills. She says the problem may be more about support from relationships than the actual skill.

The study focuses on young children up to the age of 16. It was published by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. Researchers visited 900 education and social care providers in two months. They found younger children who were previously potty-trained fell back into diapers, especially those with parents who didn’t have work flexibility. Older children lost stamina in reading and writing, which researchers claim is the result of school closures and restrictions.

University of Indianapolis Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Kendra Thomas says some research done here in the U.S. shows a huge spread of where kids are and the new study was meant for policy makers.

“One thing that this report can say to policy makers is that they’re trying to understand where are kids going to come back after Christmas break or even next school year,” Dr. Thomas said. “And policy makers, teachers, principals, superintendents are trying to project how to teach to the group and best manage our community. Then there is a level at the parent or caregiver concern of what does this mean about my child and my development.”

Dr. Thomas says if a parent or caregiver is realizing that their child has regressed in some way, they should be less concerned about that skill and see it as a symptom. She says this means the child needs more structure or support because kids can always relearn skills. Her advice to parents is to focus on what needs are being met and what needs need to be addressed.