By Rosemarie Helton
Now that we have covered the tools, materials and environments needed for online OT sessions, let’s talk briefly about an important factor that is needed for online OT to work and be successful; it is parent, student and team buy-in.
For this type of service delivery to be successful, it is crucial for the parent, student and other team members to trust and support this type of service delivery. The therapist has to build rapport (just like in any other setting) with the team including the student and parents. Without their full support and trust, therapy success will be limited.
Having an active support person in the same physical environment as the student during therapy sessions is important and necessary depending on the students’ age and support needs. This support person will help the student log into the therapy session, will work directly with the therapist and/or tech support as needed and more. The support person will also work directly with the student during various therapy activities to support, model, observe and report back to the therapist information about how the student is doing on a task or indicate if the student needs a task or activity to be graded and changed to meet the students “just right” challenge. The therapist will use this support person as their “hands, eyes and ears” during the therapy sessions as needed.
Due to the virtual nature of this type of therapy delivery, having a support person who is willing to be hands-on and interact directly with the student is beneficial. Having a support person who is invested in and believes in what we’re doing can also help to implement and report back to the therapist how therapy activities, strategies and suggestions are working outside of the online therapy sessions. As we know, incorporation and utilization of therapy strategies, techniques and suggestions into the child’s daily routine is where true progress is made.