Fall is here, which means flu season is upon us. I have been thinking more and more about teletherapy and why I am so thankful it’s an option for me, the families that I work with, and my colleagues. While some people are still on the fence about teletherapy, I wanted to share some of the most important benefits that I have come across over the past 6 months:
- Consistency of therapy: Teletherapy allows for more consistency, and here’s why. This year more than ever, parents and therapists alike are required to cancel in-person sessions when anyone in the house feels sick. For teletherapy sessions, if my client is well but her brother or sister is sick, we can still plan for our weekly therapy session. Additionally, if my client is sick, I have more opportunities to reschedule his/her missed session since I am not traveling to my client’s house. If my client or someone in the family tests positive for COVID-19, we technically would not be able to have in-person sessions for 2 weeks; however, thanks to teletherapy, we can continue as planned. Furthermore, if I get sick or someone in my family gets sick, I would be unable to continue with in-person therapy. With teletherapy as an option, depending on the circumstances, I still may be able to see my clients as planned.
- Parent education: Speech therapy may look a bit different via teletherapy, but that does not mean it’s less effective. For instance, some of the toddlers that I work with would prefer to play with their own toys on the floor rather than interact with me over the computer at a table, and that’s okay! In these instances, the parents and I discuss and practice various strategies that they can use with their children during play. I can observe the parent(s) and the child and make any necessary recommendations/adjustments. The parents that I work with have provided excellent feedback which shows that they are on board with parent-implemented intervention. Parents have shared that they feel more empowered, and they are better able to carry over strategies between sessions because they have practiced under my guidance. Parents have also expressed that they better understand how to support their child’s development because they are more involved in weekly therapy sessions.
- No delays: For families who aren’t comfortable with having a therapist in their home or taking their child to a clinic, teletherapy gives families the option to begin therapy right away. We have seen some families put therapy on hold or delay the start of therapy in hopes that the current pandemic conditions improve. While we understand and respect our families’ choices, some experts suggest that the pandemic could get worse before it gets better, and we could have a significant amount of time before life returns to “normal.” We encourage families not to delay therapy given the situation because we know how important it is to provide therapy services as early as possible. If parents are unsure about teletherapy, we recommend that they schedule a free consultation to learn more about how teletherapy works!