Lindsey Terry, M.A, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist, teletherapist, and parent of four children. She is also a Power Vinyasa Yoga Instructor and teaches about three classes a week and is leading her very first yoga retreat in March of 2019. Attracted by the flexibility that teletherapy offered her as a working parent and SLP, she joined the PresenceLearning Care Network four years ago after taking some time off for family. We spoke with Lindsey about her experience working as a teletherapist.
Could you walk us through your daily routine? A “day in the life of a PL therapist” if you will?
I have four kids. I have two daughters,13 and 11, and I have twins that are 8 so I wake up and get everybody ready for school. When everybody is situated where they need to be, I start online with paperwork and scheduling, and I jump right in to seeing my clients. I do love that I live in Texas and that I’m on the Pacific time schedule with California so I have the mornings to make sure my family life is under control. When everything is all balanced, I dive into my PL duties. I see all of my clients for therapy and I do all my notes, and in the afternoons and evenings, I have all my IEP meetings and talk to parents. I love it.
What made you want to be a teletherapist with PL?
The flexibility and being able to work from home motivated me to explore teletherapy.
Where were you working before you joined PL?
I took some time off to raise my kids. I did work part-time with friends who own their own practices here in the Houston area where I live. I worked in various school districts so I did lots of things. But PL was my first experience with teletherapy. And I’ve loved every single moment. I was shocked in the last four years of working with PL at the relationships that have developed. I wasn’t expecting that. I’ve been at one of my sites since I started. I feel like I’m closer to my clients that I’ve met through PL at my virtual sites than my clients that I see one-to-one in person. One of my sites is a virtual school—they only go to school two days and they’re home on 3 days—so on some days, I’m actually in the home and families are really involved in the sessions. I get to see their homelife. But even with my brick and mortar school where I’ve been 3 years, I’ve had a lot of time to establish relationships, not just with my clients but with the tech who has been there at the same time and is so helpful.
How have you worked to develop those relationships? Do you have suggestions for someone just beginning?
I think it’s important to be prepared. If you’re new to PL, make sure you read all the Help Center articles and make sure you ask questions so you know what you’re doing. Scheduling is a big part of it. If you really take time to make sure your schedule fits in to your daily life, that helps too (e.g., be sure to add 5 minute bio breaks and stretch breaks).
What were you most surprised about when you made the transition to be a teletherapist?
I love everything about my job and I fell into a new speciality area of social language based on the needs of my students. Progress with my clients via teletherapy is often achieved quicker or on the same level as being physically present with students. Part of it is just the kids’ love of technology. Also, with the headset they’re getting my voice straight in and I am getting to hear them also. Everyone’s attention is directly on the screen. I think that helps a lot. Even my kids with attention issues get on the computer and they’re fine. It also has to do with talking with a live person. It’s different than a video game. A lot of my progress is because parents are really involved. Even in the brick and mortar schools, after the sessions, maybe once a month or so, I send a quick email to the parents so they know exactly what we’re working on. There’s something really different about teletherapy. Parents tend to respond right away. Maybe it’s just being lucky with my sites, but I’ve been really pleased with the process.
What feature of the platform is your favorite?
PL makes it so easy especially when I am in a session if there’s something I need to look at again, I can just quickly type it in and pull it up. If I’m in an office somewhere it might take longer.
What do you find most challenging about being a teletherapist?
After 4 years of working with some of my clients, they talk about wishing to see me in person! Developing real relationships with co-workers, parents and students is really possible though teletherapy.
It’s pretty rare that I have a parent who isn’t sure about the virtual platform but when I invite them in to the session, they are amazed. They usually love it. We don’t have any issues once they see it work. I think it comes down to questions like “How do you develop a relationship?” “How do you see progress?” It’s about really getting to know your students and finding out what their interests are. It’s no different than in person.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share?
I wanted to say how great I think the PL tech department is. It’s rare when I do have a problem but they are right on top of it whenever I do.
Are you interested in joining the PL Care Network? Visit our Careers page to submit your application today!