Teletherapy: What to expect with a virtual session

Teletherapy was probably something many of us hadn’t heard of until Covid reared its ugly head! But, here we are, and I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised by the addition of this service to our practice. In private practice, we are accustomed to having our parents involved in our sessions by either sitting in on them occasionally or getting to conference with them after each session. Teletherapy has allowed for our parents to be trained and educated right alongside their child, it has improved follow through with homework, and it has given us a chance to talk each week about progress. Below are some things to think about if you are interested in teletherapy for your child. We have seen great success with this addition to our practice. And yes, even a 3 year old can benefit from teletherapy! We have to be creative some days, but we believe it is better than nothing.

Prior to your first teletherapy session, your therapist will review with you the expectations for each session. Some topics that will be covered are:

  1. Technology

  2. Home environment

  3. Parent presence and involvement

  4. Child’s behavior

Technology

  • Prior to your first session, you will want to let your therapist know what kind of technology you are accessing the session on- ipad, tablet, laptop, desktop, phone. The kind of device you use will help the therapist select activities for the session

  • Sitting near your wifi router and asking other family members to pause their streaming on other or video games can dramatically change the connection the therapist and child are able to get on the platform

  • Firefox and Chrome browsers work the best to access the platform

Home Environment

  • The camera on the device needs to be set up so that the therapist can see the child’s whole face. In some cases, it might be beneficial to have the camera set up to view the whole play area. Consider taking a blanket to the floor to designate a work space for the child.

  • If siblings are present, the therapist may include them in the session at times or ask them to quietly sit and watch.

Parent Involvement

  • The amount of parent involvement will vary from session to session and therapist to therapist. Each child will respond differently to this. It will be up to you and your therapist to determine if your presence is needed or helpful. Lots of kids perform differently when their parents are around, we recognize that. We welcome parent involvement, but may ask for the child to work independently as well.

Child Behavior

  • Your child’s therapist will have a discussion with you regarding their expectation for the session. For a 3 year old, getting up and leaving the screen for a few minutes may be ok, but for a 8 year old the expectation will look different

  • Your child’s therapist will discuss with you the level of structure and expectations she has for the session to be it’s best

  • Our goal is to accomplish great things and we may need to challenge your child at times, they may get frustrated, but we know it’s part of the growing process. We are tuned to our clients and watch for the signs that they may need a break. We incorporate movement breaks and games to allow the children to have fun while learning.

Overall, it is important to remember that teletherapy is a new experience for you and your child. It will take some time for it to “click”. At The Speech Spot, we strive to make all kids and families feel comfortable by setting clear expectations and encouraging open-communication. Email us at speechspotstl@gmail.com if you are interested in learning more about our teletherapy services or any other services offered.

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