Tips for Therapists and Families Working Together Via Teletherapy
Teletherapy allows therapists to have a window into our client’s lives. It also allows families to have a window into what therapy is like. This is particularly meaningful for the families of the kids we see in the school system as the therapist and family don’t always have an opportunity to get to know each other.
For some people, the thought of doing teletherapy may seem a little overwhelming. A few tips will help you and your family prepare for their first session and take advantage of the opportunity you have to work together.
Teletherapy works best when the kid has limited opportunities for interruption
Just as our homes are serving as multiple venues, our devices are serving multiple roles. Turn off notifications, put the phone on do not disturb, and close out of other apps or tabs. Taking these steps will make interruptions less likely, therefore, more likely to have a successful session. (View other tips for teletherapy.)
It is helpful if someone from the family is within view, even if only in the periphery
Although the platform is easy enough for a child to manage on their own, it is helpful for you to be within earshot (or sight). It helps the child remember that teletherapy is about learning (and not just goofing off on a device), and it helps the parent learn what the therapist is doing. Being visible while the therapist is working with the child allows you to see what is happening. Therapy works best if you’re learning the principles the therapist is following and expanding upon those at home.
Teletherapy may not look the same as in-person therapy, but a lot of the principles are the same
Your therapist is learning the best way to deliver therapy via digital channels while working with your child. Every child has different digital literacy skills, so the therapist will be learning what they are capable of while also learning how to engage with them. If you observe an unsuccessful session, you may want to ask the therapist what goal they were working towards accomplishing. At best, the two of you may be able to brainstorm a way to achieve this goal through teletherapy. At worst, you don’t come up with a way to execute the task through teletherapy, but you end up better understanding the goal and can begin to generalize.
Ask for homework
Your therapist is eager to provide materials that will help with carryover. And you may be looking for some more academic work to occupy the kids! This can be a win-win for everyone.
Don’t let technology problems dissuade you
Sometimes the internet connection will be slow or you may have a hard time meeting up with your therapist due to a spotty connection. These things happen. Your therapist has most likely had multiple sessions scheduled that day and may be able to provide some tips for making the connection happen. When all else fails, turn off your device and give it another try. Your therapist will do the same and may direct you to test your equipment.
Technology issues are typically fleeting and solvable. Don’t let them dissuade you. Your therapist and our technology staff want to help resolve them if there is a problem preventing you from connecting, so let us know! Call or text your therapist or contact our main office at (865) 693-5622.
The therapists at Sidekick are excited to work with you and your family with this new platform. We’re here if you have any questions!
If you’re still trying to understand how teletherapy differs from in-person therapy, check out an analysis written by our lead developer Kevin Dias.
Virginia Ingram, M.S., CCC-SLP