Over the past several weeks, we have seen our lives quickly turn upside down as schools, events, restaurants, and therapy clinics have shut down due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The last thing we want as clinicians is to pause therapy, as we know it may be a critical part of your child’s development. PediaSpeech has recently introduced an alternative option to services known as Teletherapy through a live video conferencing application platform. We are excited to have this opportunity to safely and successfully continue treating our existing clients, as well as new clients looking for services during this time of ‘sheltering in place!’ We are thrilled with how successful the Teletherapy sessions have been, and how we are able to reach these children and offer structure when most of their world has changed to cope with the spread of the COVID-19 virus. If interested in exploring Teletherapy as an alternative to in-office sessions for your child, tell your PediaSpeech’s therapist or if new to our practice, check us out online at www.pediaspeech.com for more information. We are still answering the phones and taking new clients each day!
What is Teletherapy?
Teletherapy is a treatment method that uses technology to provide therapy services at a distance. It is important to note that Teletherapy is not a different therapy service; it is just a different way of performing the same therapy, utilizing technology to connect the therapist and child from two remote locations in a highly interactive and effective way.
Will my child benefit from Teletherapy?
Your therapist will know if Teletherapy is appropriate for your child, or if you are new to our practice we can do a practice session to try it! If it is a good fit, all you will need for a session is a laptop or desktop and a webcam. Most laptops and monitors have a webcam already built-in and ready to be accessed. Through TheraPlatform’s software, your child’s therapist is able to utilize on-screen games, videos, stories, and activities just as they would in a face-to-face therapy session. Therapists who have been doing Teletherapy for years have found that many children who have attention difficulties might actually participate better because the use of computers during a therapy session is highly motivating to them.
Can my child receive occupational therapy services through Teletherapy?
Occupational therapists are trained in helping children fulfill their daily occupations such as succeeding in academic skills, self care, and play. They can also successfully deliver services through teletherapy as well. Therapists are able to focus on the same goals online as they would in-person to treat areas such as fine motor skills, writing, gross motor skills, self care skills, emotion and behavior management, organizing and planning tasks, and engaging in play activities. Occupational therapists can also provide education regarding sensory processing strategies to use at home.
What does a Teletherapy session look like?
The following provides a great example of an occupational therapist conducting a successful Teletherapy session with a child.
As a parent, what is my role in helping to make these sessions beneficial for my child?
Your child’s therapist will incorporate you into the sessions and help teach you how to target goals through the use of toys and activities in the child’s natural environment. Strategies and activities completed during the therapy sessions can be carried over to other every day activities.
Co-Authored by Katherine Eastman, a current speech-language pathology intern at PediaSpeech, and will be graduating with her master’s degree this upcoming May. She received her bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from The University of Texas at Austin in December of 2017. She has had previous internship experience in private practice and hospital settings. She grew up in Dallas, TX and recently moved to Atlanta, GA to begin her career!