Many people who are new to teletherapy have questions like:
- Can it work with young kids?
- Will I be “working in a vacuum” alone at home?
- Where can I turn for help?
A recent thread on our clinician forum illuminates the answers to all three of these questions. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) who is new to providing services online is working with a two-year-old with low engagement and who is non-verbal. A parent and a paraprofessional also take part in the sessions. The boy does love videos and will gesture for “more,” but engagement and transitioning from activity to activity prove difficult. The SLP reached out to the online community for help, and received numerous suggestions rather quickly from other PresenceLearning clinicians who work with young children via teletherapy.
- Use finger play and sing a simple song to see if he will imitate any of the actions
- Use puppets
- Let him move away from the screen within a confined area and play with the adults
- End the session by singing a “goodbye” song, and slowly building screen time
- Find out what he likes to do and have the parent/para gather these activities so they can be incorporated (e.g. puzzles, bubbles, Play-Doh)
- Coach the adults on sitting across from him, getting eye contact, and imitating actions
- Add vocalizations bit by bit to your actions, or shape your actions into signs
- Add “work” to “play,” to help build attention span
- Create a “choice board” of rewards that he can select for good work
- Incorporate a physical activity like Simon Says to help get the wiggles out and work on one-step instructions; follow with animated rewards or stickers
- Try books like “Big Mouth Frog” where you can overly exaggerate your mouth when you read and get him to laugh
- Try arranging the session to be 10 minutes with the child, 15 minutes with the child and parent together, and 5 minutes reviewing the session and talking about the next one
- Engage and teach the adults on ways to make the situation child-centered so he doesn’t look at speech as a punishment
- Use a familiar routine so he knows what to expect, and then vary it to see if he can tolerate variance
- Teach the parent to communicated in a way that will promote language
- Incorporate simple routines, like Ready-Set-Go
- Do a search for “routine based intervention” — lots of ideas and materials out there
Clinicians tells us again and again that one thing they appreciate most about PresenceLearning is the support they receive from their team and the community. You might be working from home, but you’ll never be alone! Do you think you’d like to join the largest network of online clinicians? Learn more here.