Articulation Therapy via Telehealth

child doing speech teletherapy via laptop

Entertaining green screen backgrounds, interactive games, and video books – that’s what articulation via telehealth looks like?

The popularity of telehealth in general has risen dramatically during the last 3 years. At one point during the pandemic, the use of telehealth for office visits grew 78 times!

With more therapists and families taking advantage of telehealth for speech therapy (also known as “teletherapy”), there’s also been a lot of growth in the nature of these sessions.
For one thing, there truly is a plethora of fun digital materials available for Speech Therapists to use. In addition to that, children are highly motivated by online activities and technology.

Some children struggle to stay engaged while working on articulation of speech sounds during in-person sessions. But, therapy can be more exciting for them when the session is conducted virtually. And that can mean better attention, motivation, and progress towards goals!

Let’s dive into the benefits and nature of articulation therapy via telehealth. We’ll top it off with a list of the best teletherapy resources for Speech-Language Pathologists and families!

Interactive Teletherapy Sessions

Recent research has proven that both parents and therapists see several benefits to teletherapy. Speech therapy via telehealth is economical, convenient, and effective.

But some parents are still skeptical.

“My child is too young for any virtual activities.”

“What if he has trouble focusing? He won’t sit and pay attention to a screen for 30 minutes to an hour.”

In reality, there are several online activities available for children of all ages. And in virtual speech therapy, the child isn’t expected to stare at the computer screen for the duration of the session. Teletherapy for articulation is highly interactive!

Virtual Activities

When a child logs on for a speech therapy session, the therapist can screen share an online game or activity. Typically, the child can also be granted remote access. That means the child and therapist can both control or access the shared activity from their own computer.

If a young 4 year-old is working on articulation of the /k/ sound over teletherapy, the therapist might engage him or her in an activity like Make a Cookie or Make a Cupcake on ABCya.com.

Make A CupCake from ABCya
Make A Cupcake on ABCya.com

Another child might play a turn-taking game with their therapist during a telehealth speech session. Kokolingo is a fun, island-themed digital platform for articulation therapy that includes over 100 games to target more than 30 different speech sounds.

Working on the /r/ sound, for example? The child and SLP can take turns in a game of memory. The SLP can even invite the parent to continue playing with the child for homework and extra articulation practice.

Kokolingo
Kokolingo

In teletherapy speech sessions for articulation, the child is actively participating in activities. And because they are focused on the screen, the therapist is able to clearly model the speech sounds being targeted. He or she can also get a close-up view of the child’s attempts at the sounds on camera.

Engaging Backgrounds

Another way therapists keep clients attentive and motivated during articulation therapy via telehealth?
By setting up engaging backgrounds while on camera!
And these aren’t just a simple beach background you might have for a Zoom meeting. These are interactive, activity-based backgrounds that captivate the clients’ attention.

TherapyWorks SLPs recommend starting with a tutorial on how to set up a green screen. Play Spark Toys on YouTube is a great starting point.

Play Spark Toys has an easy tutorial as well as a channel full of fun activities that incorporate green screens. Think rainforest adventure, winter wonderland board game, and a 5 Little Ducks sing along!

Teachers Pay Teachers is another amazing resource for SLPs using a green screen for creative activities in teletherapy.

Children can play a scavenger hunt game with the therapist’s green screen tool, finding words that start with their target sound, like a shark for the /sh/ sound.

If a child already loves watching videos on YouTube, it’s likely that a therapist using fun, interactive green screen activities for articulation therapy will be engaging to them too!

Digital Materials

Many speech therapists and parents have heard a child sigh or slump in their chair when they see a worksheet or deck of flash cards come out during articulation therapy. Let’s be honest, they just aren’t very fun.

And when the task isn’t fun, the child isn’t as likely to attend to the information being presented. In this case, that’s how to articulate a certain speech sound, and practicing it in words.
And then there are the endless, fun digital materials available for teletherapy!
Child Doing Teletherapy

Boom Learning offers gamified materials and interactive lessons to keep children engaged.

For example, thetypebslp offers a virtual sensory bin activity, where children can find items on the screen that contain the sound they are targeting for articulation.

Thetypebslp from Boom Learning
Boom Learning

Either just the SLP or both the therapist and the client can have control of selecting or manipulating the items within a game. Parents can also sit with their child during teletherapy sessions, to prompt the child to imitate sounds and help navigate through activities.

Some digital materials have been created specifically for speech therapy, like Ultimate SLP. This site offers animated and interactive games and activities to target speech sounds at a variety of levels.

Other online activities can be used as a reinforcement for a child completing trials of their target sound, or can be adapted to work on articulation goals. Working on the /s/ sound in phrases? Ask the child to use the phrase, “I see ____” during the online hidden pictures activity!

Top Teletherapy Resources for Articulation

Kamiapp.com (takes any pdf file and turns it into an interactive activity)
Kokolingo.com
Elevate SLP (activities for middle schoolers and high schoolers)
Vooks (online, animated books)
Superduperlibrary.com
Wow.boomlearning.com
Abcya.com
Ultimate SLP
digital SLP
teachers pay teachers
Tools to Grow
Everyday Speech
Pink Cat Games

Additional Resources

Articulation Therapy can be fun and interactive when conducted via telehealth. And when children are more engaged, they’re likely to attend and work hard at improving their production of speech sounds!

If you have concerns about your child’s speech and language skills, he or she may benefit from specialized services from a Speech-Language Pathologist. A Speech Therapy evaluation can help determine what difficulties your child is having. Ongoing individualized therapy can include techniques and activities to help improve these areas.

TherapyWorks offers Speech Therapy, Occupational and Physical Therapy both in person and through teletherapy. If you would like to learn more, or discuss your child’s specific needs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to TherapyWorks!

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 Are you interested in services for your child? Founded by Michelle Worth and Erin Vollmer, TherapyWorks provides speech, occupational and physical therapies in-home and via teletherapy.

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