It’s been a wild two years here at Suite Speech (and I’m sure in your world too)! We’ve transitioned from at-home speech therapy to completely virtual, to now using both online and in-person sessions. Many learning moments came with this transition, and I'd love to pass them on to you! Read below for quick tips and a little bit of hope when taking your services online.
1. Your teletherapy platform is key
After testing out a few platforms, I realized not all are created equal. At Suite Speech, our primary telepractice platform is Theraplatform and I am really happy with it so far! I find the interactive features help with engagement and participation!
Theraplatform offers a shared whiteboard (great for drawing, writing, or creating a speech plan together), speech apps (e.g. sentence creation, articulation, wh-questions and more), and screen sharing options. Get a free trial here (disclaimer: this is a give-one-get-one link).
I’ve also tried SimplePractice which is not as interactive (i.e. no games, apps, whiteboard) at the moment, however, it has a screen sharing function and seems to work well with older children. (I’m continuing to use it for back-end items because I love it so much for those things!) Try out SimplePractice here (disclaimer: this is a give-one-get-one link).
2. More documents to sign
If your mind works anything like mine, you’ve got your platform up and ready to go, you think now you can provide services, right? Nope! We need a few additional documents to cover our bases before providing therapy.
Check to make sure you have a BAA (from the teletherapy platform itself), and teletherapy consent forms signed by parents for each client before providing services.
3. Prep time
Uploading materials, sending copies to parents and initial set-up takes time. I like having the materials uploaded onto the platform or emailed to the parents ahead of time for use during the session. This is much different than just bringing my bag of toys or having a session in an office with materials already available.
4. You won’t ever be completely “ready”
Virtual therapy may not be “new” to the professional world, but a lot of us SLPs are transitioning into unknown territory. A quick practice session with a friend or family member will help you navigate the platform and feel more comfortable during your first session.
5. The internet won’t always work
Ah, the internet. It’s a love-hate relationship. Your session is going great, the child is engaged, they’re smiling, you’re smiling, all is well! Then, they freeze or your internet decides to reconnect, or worse yet your computer thinks it’s time for a nap. Technology problems will and do happen! Knowing that it’s something we can’t control, I try to make light of the situation, problem-solve, thank everyone involved for their patience and move past it.
6. Goals are the same, delivery is different
Just because speech therapy is now online, does not mean the child’s goals have changed. We are simply delivering services through a new modality! Think, “same goals, new way”.
7. We’re all in this together (High School Musical soundtrack-style)
This is so, so important to remember! We’re all learning together. We’re all wanting to pull our hair out some days and amazed at how technology can give us the opportunity to have speech anywhere. Give yourself and everyone else a break as we all learn to navigate teletherapy together!