COVID-19 LOCKDOWN: TRANSITIONING YOUR WITH SPECIAL NEEDS TO TELETHERAPY.

As a measure to reduce the rate at which the Covid-19 spreads, the government has imposed a compulsory "lockdown" of businesses, which includes schools and so on. This lock down will go on for an indefinite period of time. As Parents and practitioners we know children with special needs require consistent therapy to sustain therapy gains. One major fall back for schools and service providers has been to go online. For us, that means Teletherapy.


What is Teletherapy?


Teletherapy is the online delivery of speech, occupational and mental health therapy services via high-resolution, live video conferencing. Teletherapy sessions are very similar to traditional, occupational therapy, or mental health sessions with one major exception. Instead of sitting in the same room, students and therapists interact via live video conferencing.

Teletherapy has actually been around for a while now, and is actually a form in which therapy has proven effective for early intervention services abroad.


The How of Teletherapy


Teletherapy sessions work about the same way that the regular face-to-face therapy works, safe the fact that in teletherapy, your child and the therapist are not in the same room.

Just like regular therapy, teletherapy is scheduled at the most appropriate and most convenient time for both the therapist and your family. At the appointed time both parties will log-in at the set time and have their session over a secure virtual platform. The therapist may implore similar techniques as in a regular face-to-face therapy.

To have an effective and enjoyable teletherapy experience, there are a couple things that must be in place. These things include;


Good Internet Connection

A stable and reliable internet connection on both ends of the call is probably one of the most essential things required for the best experience during a teletherapy session.

A computer/Laptop with webcam

Having a device that supports webcams is very important. It is true that a lot of other devices such as some smartphones, tablets, kindles can be used in place of computer/laptop. However, for the best experience, it is advised that a computer or a laptop with a webcam be used, because some of the interactive online activities may be difficult to operate using a tablet or a phone.

A Headset (ideal but not essential)

Using a head set or an earphone will definitely be a plus, especially for sessions that involve articulation as well as aids in hearing the instructions given clearly. However, it some cases, some children may not be tolerate to using a headset or an earphone. In as much as we are trying to create the best teletherapy experience as possible, it is important to note the needs of the child or recipient of the therapy.

A secure Teletherapy Platform

There are various platforms in which can be utilized for the teletherapy services include;

  • Zoom

  • GoToMeeting

  • Skype

  • Google meet

We currently use the Zoom platform at Nurture Child Development Clinic. As a parent that wants to access therapy through this media, you don't need a paid subscription as your service provider takes care of that. However, you will need to download the app for your android or IOS device.

Finding the right platform and acquiring the right technology is one aspect of the solution. At the other end is the need to prepare as a family and help our children understand what is going on. There are lots of child appropriate literature that breaks this information down for young children. You can click here to access our “Covid-19 Tale” for Preschoolers.

For your child to optimize the benefits of teletherapy, here are a few points to note:

  • You will require a prepared environment: choose and prepare the environment for the session. Preferably a quiet clear environment without distractions.

  • Plan to be available: you will be needed to prompt your child through the activities.

  • Reinforcers are magical: ensure you have a lot of fun reinforcing activities (what are those favorites your child absolutely loves? Games, videos etc.)

  • Routines keep everyone on track: develop a routine that works for not just your child but you or anyone that will be providing support during sessions.

  • Ask questions: don’t hesitate to ask questions about goals and techniques being employed by the therapist. That is the advantage of virtual home sessions, there are opportunities to ask questions and try your ideas under the guidance of a trained professional.

  • Create and optimize naturally occurring events to help your child practice skills after each virtual home visit.

  • Enjoy the process as much as you can: some days will be fly and others not so fly. Do your best to enjoy each day being part of your child’s program while it last.

All of these initial processes facilitate your family’s transition to teletherapy. We have been able to guide most of the families on our program to make it a smooth transition from physical to virtual therapy sessions by our team of certified therapists.

Are you looking for a safe, convenient and effective way to continue your child’s therapy during the lock down? Click to book a session for your child or Call: 234-8034162783 to get started today!

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