Teletherapy can work for everyone!
Our clinic has been servicing clients via teletherapy (teleheath, e-visits) since March 17, 2020. I'm here to let you know that not only are we making it work, our clients are making PROGRESS! Even though stay at home orders are over and most clinics have reopened their doors most of our clients have chosen to stay teletherapy. Why? It works! It's a no risk, no commute amazing way to get speech-language treatment from the comfort of your own home.
Here are my top FIVE tips on how to make teletherapy work for all your clients/students/patients.
1. Use the familiar
Don't try to reinvent the wheel. What kinds of toys, games and activities did your client like in office or during school or home sessions? Use those! My document camera has been one of my most used treatment tools. I can play any game under it. I can show any book. I can even play with cars, trains and action figures making them come to life on screen.
If this is a new client and you are meeting over teletherapy get the parent or caregiver to share the child's interests with you and check out what you have on hand that might be similar.
2. The element of surprise
Does your client love dogs? Trucks? Ice cream? It's very easy to quickly draw something on the white board (we use zoom and theraplatform and both have built in white boards), put something under the doc camera or hold something up. Maybe magical dogs fly in every so often. That should keep your little client's interest! Maybe every few minutes you each take turns taking a lick of your pretend ice cream cone. Perhaps a truck drives in and disrupts what you're doing every sixty seconds.
3. Use the new and exciting.
Have you heard of green screen therapy? If you're using zoom you can easily use a green background and have any virtual background show up behind you. You can take your client on adventures to the zoo, aquarium or even Europe this way. PlaySparkToys.com sells a green screen kit and has some great free backgrounds. There is even a facebook group with amazing ideas. Your clients will be on the edge of the edge of their seats each session.
4. Follow their lead.
I know as SLPs we all like to be planned and have a plan. My favorite type of therapy is child-led. This can still happen with teletherapy. So many of my session plans have gone out the window when I log on an little Joey now has a new stuffed animal or little Katie got a doll high chair. I look around to see what I have and the next thing I know we are playing, creating and using language in bigger and better ways than I could have hoped for.
5. Make sure they move.
So many of our little clients have sensory regulation difficulties. Even if they don't they are little, they are in front of a screen and they need to move their bodies to focus and accomplish their goals. Don't be afraid to stand up, do some jumping jacks, run around the room and find something green or maybe bunny hop to your favorite toy. Teletherapy should not keep us from getting off that chair!