Setting yourself up for teletherapy success

Michigan friends, the school year is upon us. For many families, virtual school is the new reality. This means that speech-language services provided at school will now take on a virtual look.

The good thing is that Duncan Lake Speech Therapy loooooves teletherapy. Teletherapy is a great way to deliver speech-language therapy, especially during this time of quarantine. Our clients have made the transition to online services, and thanks to this experience over the past few months, I have learned a thing or two. With a little team work, a video therapy session can go really well. It just might take a little pre-work on the part of the client (and their family)to make it happen.

What are some actions you can take at home to ensure a successful speech-language teletherapy session? So glad you asked!

Be mindful of posture.

Earlier this week, I did a post on our Facebook page about proper posture for online learning. Use whatever you might need – pillows, boxes, footstools – to make sure your kiddo is sitting in the most optimal position. Standing is great, too, especially for our movers and shakers! Just make sure the screen is upright and at eye level.  The less the child has to bend and flex to see what’s going on, the more likely they will be able to focus.

Test out the equipment.

Technology can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Prior to the session, log on a few minutes early to ensure the audio and visual equipment are working. If you’re completely new to a program, see if you can do a test run a bit prior to the initial session. It’s really hard to predict how your computer or tablet will act when using a new program! Talk to your provider – there is a good chance that you can do some practice on your own.

Watch out for an overloaded network.

During your session, make sure that there is the least amount of internet use possible. Think about how much we use our internet – phones, TVs, devices, even thermostats! If many devices are utilizing the wi-fi during a teletherapy session, though, the bogged down internet might result in poor video and audio quality. Try eliminating some of the usage during that time. Even better? Try hardwiring your computer or device into the actual router. I do this!

Reducing the overload will help eliminate pixelated screens and overall lag in sound and video.

Carve out a dedicated space.

While I have appreciated taking walks through my clients’ houses (many a cat and toilet have I seen!), it’s good to have a dedicated space where you child can complete therapy. Humans do well with structure and compartmentalization. Experts tell us to use our bed for sleeping, not for working on our computer – it sends a clear signal to our brain that beds mean bedtime, thus not confusing our circadian rhythms and allowing us to sleep. High schoolers are encouraged to take standardized tests at their own high school and not a testing center if at all possible. Their brains know that the high school building is for learning! The same logic applies to children and teletherapy. If the expectation is that the table in the living room is where speech happens, their brains know, “This table means speech!” The more consistent this is, the better focus they will have.

Be honest and open!

If something isn’t working, say something. Your speech-language pathologist can help you troubleshoot issues or adjust therapy based on your input. We are good at many things, but mind reading isn’t one! You’re not going to hurt anyone’s feelings, I promise.

I love teletherapy, and I hope that by implementing these little steps, you will have the best experience possible!

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