Encompass Blog

Teletherapy: Connecting at a Distance

March 9, 2020  |  Pediatric Therapy  |  By Lindsey Cooper, MA, CCC-SLP

Man and littler girl video chatting on the couch

Schedule conflicts. Illnesses in the family. Inclement weather. There are many reasons why families might need to cancel their child’s therapy appointment. Sometimes rescheduling the appointment is a perfect option, and other times it isn’t possible due to the same reasons for the initial cancellation: schedule conflicts, illnesses in the family, or inclement weather.

Teletherapy can be a wonderful opportunity in lieu of an in-person session. Teletherapy is providing therapy over a live video, shared between the therapist and the client. Benefits include continuation of services, accessibility, and ease of use. If you’ve ever used Skype or FaceTime, you will be familiar with the process.

But how does it work? And what are the logistics? Here are some helpful tips:

Scheduling Teletherapy: When you call to cancel your child’s appointment, please indicate your interest in teletherapy. From there, you will be prompted to schedule a new appointment for teletherapy, and provided with information on how to connect.

Parent Coaching vs. Direct Therapy: For some children, a teletherapy session with direct therapy (where the therapist is providing therapy directly to the child, as we often do in the clinic) is possible. For other children, teletherapy is more conducive to a parent coaching model. In parent coaching, the therapist can speak directly with the parent/caregiver, answer questions, and guide the parent through an activity with the child.

Set Up: Please consider the following when preparing for your teletherapy session:

  • Please make sure you have a working, charged device with a functional camera and microphone. Often smart phones are the easiest choice.
  • Try to be in a quiet environment where you can speak freely. Environmental noises such as nearby conversations or the sound of television can interfere with the sound on the call.
  • Prepare your child. Prior to the teletherapy session, engage your child in a quiet activity. For many of the children we work with, it would likely be challenging to transition from highly active play (like rough housing) or highly engaging activities (like video games) to sitting and watching a therapist on a screen. Preparing your child ahead of time with activities such as coloring, shared book reading, or crafts can help their bodies be ready to learn.
  • Let your therapist know if you can’t hear, can’t see the video feed, or if there is another need to pause the session.

What to Expect: Teletherapy sessions may differ from in person sessions in a number of ways. Your child may be less attentive through a screen than they are in person. And that’s ok! Your therapist may implement a combination of direct therapy and parent coaching during the teletherapy session. This can be a wonderful opportunity to ask questions, update your therapist on your child’s progress, make plans for future sessions and/or discharge, and discuss topics at length.

Billing: Encompass will bill a teletherapy session similar to an in person session. We encourage all families to connect with their insurance provider about their individual coverage plans.

Call our Pediatric Therapy Clinic at 425.888.3347 to schedule a teletherapy appointment today!

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