Kid’s Creek began offering teletherapy to OT and speech patients back in early 2019. Little did we know that just over a year later, a new virus called COVID-19 would push teletherapy to the forefront, and would allow us to begin offering teletherapy to PT patients, as well. Most insurance plans currently cover teletherapy, which is great news if you are still unsure about bringing your child into a public place.
How does teletherapy work?
Teletherapy is simply therapy, over the internet, through a live video connection. The treatment is very similar to what a child receives in person; it’s just done using a computer. If you’ve ever used FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom you’ve used the same type of technology that teletherapy uses.
Teletherapy can be used with a variety of ages. It allows therapy to be done remotely, and is an excellent way to receive therapy services when traveling to a clinic isn’t a realistic option or to allow for more scheduling flexibility. Teletherapy is endorsed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and as we noted above, most insurance plans are currently covering teletherapy.
For the actual session, a parent can log on remotely on their computer or mobile device, and then can sit with their child (if recommended) while their therapist works through the session. If there are materials that are needed for the session, they are either shared on-screen or sent via email ahead of time.
Who Can Benefit from Teletherapy?
A variety of circumstances – not just the threat of a global pandemic! – can lead a family to choose teletherapy over traditional in-clinic therapy. A few examples include:
- Homeschooling families or those with multiple children for whom it is difficult to schedule regular clinic sessions for a single child
- Children who are ill, homebound, or have compromised immune systems
- Families who live too far to easily travel to a clinic multiple times per month or who have limited access to reliable transportation
- Children who have anxiety or other needs who are more comfortable receiving treatment in a familiar setting
But teletherapy can also work very well for families who don’t fit any of the above scenarios, and an added benefit to teletherapy for any child is that sessions can be recorded for the child and his or her parents. Replaying a session helps reinforce therapy concepts, making therapy “homework” more productive.
Teletherapy is not necessarily a good fit for every client, however. Children who struggle to remain in one place (standing or sitting) or need specific tactile (touch) cues to complete therapy tasks may be able to use teletherapy as an interim measure but will do better in the long run by returning to in-clinic therapy when it’s feasible.
So, what do you need at home to use teletherapy? Since you’re reading this blog post, you probably already have everything you need:
- Computer, iPad, or tablet
- Webcam (included in iPads and most computers, but can be purchased inexpensively if needed)
- Headset or ear buds
- High speed broadband internet (minimum of 3Mbps download speed and 1Mbps upload speed)
Are You Ready to Give Teletherapy a Try?
If you believe teletherapy may be right for your child, call us at 770-888-5221 or request a free consultation.