Getting Ready for Online Therapy with your Child

by Care Speech 
8 July 2022

Research tells us that Speech Pathology via Video is just as successful as face-to-face therapy, including when working with children. This is great news for convenience and time-saving, not to mention accessibility from all over the country. To get the most out of Speech Pathology via Video, families and therapists work together to maximise the child’s experience.

Here are a few simple steps to help you get ready for your child’s first online therapy session.

Step 1. Prepare the space

  1. Choose a therapy space
    Have a designated spot for your child to attend therapy. This doesn’t have to be a whole room – simply look for a space that will allow your child to feel comfortable and focused for the duration of their session. Your Speech Pathologist may have a specific recommendation once they have met your child, but some general ideas are:

    • For a toddler, a mat space that will allow them and their parent to play and interact.
    • For a young child, a small low table with some space to place toys.
    • For a child with sensory needs, flexible furniture or a space with pillows and blankets.
    • For an older child, a desk or office workstation.

    (And yes, a kitchen bench, coffee table or dining table is also a great option!).

  2. Refine your therapy space
    It helps to pack away any unnecessary objects (e.g., toys!) to encourage your child to stay focused.It also helps to minimise noise and distractions wherever possible throughout the session.One benefit of online therapy is the ability to include all members of the family, however an environment with a lot of other activity can make it difficult for a child to focus. You might like to:

    • Switch off the television, radio or any other background noise.
    • Choose a space away from the main living area if other family members are around.
    • Have siblings engaged in another activity while therapy is taking place.
  3. Prepare your therapy materials
    Depending on the type of assessment and/or therapy your child will be receiving, the Speech Pathologist may request that you bring some equipment along with you to the first session (such as books, blocks or simple toys). Having these in arm’s reach ahead of time will allow for a smooth-flowing session.

Step 2. Prepare your child

Getting ready to leave the house with a child can be quite a process when they are young. It can be tempting to skip getting ready entirely when you are attending your session from home, but taking a few steps to prepare your child can make a huge difference to their experience. A few tips to consider before your child’s session are:

  1. Tell them what is happening
    Give your child some warning that their therapy session is coming up. Tell them who they will see and some of the things they are likely to do. Wrap up their previous activity a few minutes beforehand to allow them time to prepare themselves and transition smoothly into the session.
  2. Rest and eat beforehand
    If your child’s session is at a time when they would normally eat, try to have a snack beforehand. That being said, we do encourage children to bring a water bottle with a non-spill top to the session (as talking can be thirsty work!). If possible, try to arrange an appointment time with your Speech Pathologist that captures your child at their best and does not overlap with their regular nap time.

Step 3. Prepare yourself

Your attendance at Speech Pathology via Video sessions is just as important as your child’s. Think about this – a Speech Pathologist usually only sees your child for 1 hour per week, while you see them for up to 168 hours per week! This means that you are your child’s most important teacher, and your involvement in therapy sessions will be a key ingredient to successful outcomes.

  1. Stay with them
    Depending on your child’s age and independence level, they will need varying levels of support to access online therapy. Young children are likely to need a parent to stay with them for the whole session. Even older children, who are more independent with therapy tasks, are likely to need a parent on hand to assist with troubleshooting or technology issues. Of course, the biggest advantage of remaining present during your child’s session is that your Speech Pathologist can provide you with education about your child’s therapy activities, the progress they are making and of course recommendations for homework.
  2. Come ready to learn
    Your child won’t be the only one learning something new – you will be too! When attending your child’s first Speech Pathology via Video session, try to come prepared with your undivided attention. The Speech Pathologist may want to speak to you privately at the start or end of the session, so it can help to have another activity on hand for your child to transition to. Of course, by coming along, it also means you get to join in all the fun!

If you would like to find out more about Speech Pathology via Video for your child, contact us today on 1300 086 280 or at [email protected].

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