What Telehealth might look like for you and your child
Are you curious about Telehealth and wondering what it might look like for you and your child? Have you been hearing about ALL your medical providers, from your pediatrician to your dentist, and now your speech language pathologist and occupational therapist, moving to this new form of care? Well good news! Building Blocks has completed a successful first 3 days and is here to help!
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is the practice of using a phone call or, more commonly these days, a video platform, to provide specific services. For Building Blocks Therapy, these services include speech language therapy and occupational therapy. While this is relatively new way to practice to us, it is not new for many families and areas of the world. There are many school districts in rural areas that do not have a licensed SLP or OT to provide on-site therapy. Those schools are able to use Telehealth to provide services to the children with qualifying IEPs. You can read more about Telehealth services in last week’s blog.
I’m not sure if my child is appropriate for Telehealth. How will I know?
This is a question we have heard a lot and have asked ourselves! The good news, is so far, we have had positive sessions and feedback with all clients who have completed their first session. Our sessions have included children working on AAC, phonological processing, articulation, and language goals. Ages have ranged from 2 years – thru middle school. Other ways to ensure success with this new mode of service delivery include the following:
- First, we are prepared to do “trial sessions” for 10-15 minutes for free prior to setting up an initial Telehealth session. This is a great opportunity for everyone to get familiar with the new platform and work out any technical kinks.
- Second, similar to our regular in-person sessions, telehealth may require flexibility on the part of the therapist. Luckily, this is something we are all familiar with and are prepared to move between activities in our Telehealth sessions, just as we are in our office/home sessions.
- Third, it also requires parental assistance on the other end. Our therapists may ask you to help their child respond to a question or touch the screen. When scheduling your sessions, please do so at a time where a caregiver can be present for the 30 minutes.
What does a session look like?
A session may take various forms. It may look just like a regular session in our office, just with a screen between the child and therapist. It may be a consultation/coaching session where the therapist is observing interactions between a caregiver and child and giving feedback for immediate adjustments. There may be a mix of both styles. Examples of what we’ve done so far in Telehealth therapy sessions include:
- “Real time” activities – the therapist may have the farm, farm animals, and a book on her table. She can read the book and ask questions, just like in an office session. The child can give directions with the animals, or, if the child also has his farm set out, they can give and follow directions together. We can play descriptive language games, with the child’s own toys and incorporate movement with treasure hunts around the room.
- “Screen time” activities- our platform, TheraPlatform, has built in apps for articulation, language and social skills. The child and therapist can play games or do worksheets with reward games on the screen together. We are able to upload our own documents as well for interactive screen-based activities. Using the paint function, games like I Spy and Scavenger Hunts are available to us.
I am not a current client at Building Blocks Therapy, but would like to start Telehealth. Can I?
Yes! We understand that schools are closed for extended time periods (or for the rest of the year!) and services normally rendered during school hours will not take place. We are happy to take on new clients via our Telehealth services. If you are interested, please contact us. You can email or call: 703 533 8819 ext. 9. We will review any IEP goals or recent evaluations and discuss next steps prior to starting. Please read our prior posts on Telehealth too, to get more general information.
What people are saying about Telehealth at Building Blocks!
“I was surprised how well my child participated” – parent
“I was amazed at how well my 4 year old was able to interact with his therapist and that he was able to stay engaged throughout the entire session” – parent