We made online occupational therapy work in our practice in Atlanta with all ages and diagnosis! Here are some ideas that we have found to make the telehealth delivery method successful…..
Admittedly, starting a new method of occupational therapy was intimidating at first, but these first few weeks have proven that teletherapy is a wonderful option to continue services. Teletherapy truly feels like a typical person to person session. I am able to make connections with my clients and their families despite being separated by a screen. Being able to see and interact with my clients and their families has truly brightened my day! In addition, providing ‘home’ therapy provides insight to what the family has access to in the child’s natural environment. I often see that a child can perform a task in the clinic, but cannot translate the skill to home. Being able to see the environment and make more specific suggestions has helped several of my clients get up to speed and perform at their full potential!
Teletherapy Ideas that Work!
I have found that having a common interest is a must during a teletherapy session. I use a dice or a spinner and create games out of sensory and gross motor activities, and even visual motor tasks. Finding out together what the task will be is so much fun!
Despite doing my therapy from a desk, I spend almost the entire session moving with my clients. I demonstrate exercises and yoga poses, participate in challenges, and facilitate dance offs. Having a place to move around is a must! It is also helpful to be able to move the webcam so that I can see kids in an open space and on the floor.
Nothing beats true pencil to paper writing. I like to have all worksheets and papers available virtually and have a copy for myself and each child so that they benefit from writing practice, and from multiple visual and physical examples. When doing a gross motor activity, such as yoga or animal walks, I like to show a picture of the position, as well as demonstrate. With a parent’s help and with extra visual cues, the kids are able to execute movements that were once very challenging.
Having the opportunity to continue to provide services while social distancing is such a blessing! We are all learning that OT can be just as fun and accessible in our own homes.