Crash Course in Teletherapy for Speech-Language Professionals

Is your school or clinic closing?  Do you need a quick way to do online therapy?  Check out our newest resource guide!  This will quickly get you up and running with online therapy.

Not Sure How to Handle School Closures?  Check Out our COVID-19 Response Plan

Overview Video:

Get up to speed quickly with our overview video.  Then, scroll below to find links and further suggestions: 

Links from Video:

Here are the primary links mentioned in the video that you may be interested in: 

What Platform Should I Use to Conduct My Teletherapy Sessions?

You’ll want to make sure that you’re following all compliance recommendations for your licensing body and any nation-wide legislation for protecting clients.  In the United States, that means complying with all HIPAA regulations.  

*** I’m going to make a disclaimer right here and now that I am not a legal professional nor do I know everything about the licensing requirements for this area.  Please check with your State, Country, or other governing body to ensure you are following all laws, rules, and regulations.

If you are looking for a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine platform that will allow you to do video conferencing (while maintaining client privacy), here are a few options to look at.  We haven’t used these services personally so we can’t vouch for their quality, we just want to give you some options to look into.  You’ll have to make sure that your clients have access to the internet and a web camera as well.

VSee

Set up your own private telemedicine room.  The plans are free up to 25 visits per month and then go up to $50 per month for unlimited calls.

Doxy.Me

Free for low-definition video for as many clients as you want.  $35 per month for higher quality video and audio-only calls.

Google Hangouts Meet

Google Hangouts is now called “Meet”.  You can make Google Meet HIPAA-compliant if you have a business associates agreement and it’s free to do so.  Contact Google to get started.

Zoom for Healthcare

Zoom offers HIPAA-compliant options for an additional $200 per month (maybe get your employer to pay for that one!) but we’ve heard rumors they may be lowering that during the pandemic.  Check with them to be sure!

What Therapy Materials Should I Use for Teletherapy?

Here’s where we all get to be super grateful that the world has gone so digital lately.  Any of your digital speech therapy materials will work great for this because most teletherapy platforms will allow you to share your screen.  That means, all you have to do is open the document on your computer and share.  Then, the client can see it just as well as you.  Here are some great options for finding therapy materials for your teletherapy sessions: 

teletherapy materials for speech-language pathologists
  • Our Digital Curriculum and Worksheets: Our memberships has hundreds of ready-to-go therapy worksheets that you can pull up and use in teletherapy right away.  Plus, we’re in the middle of a massive Curriculum build-out with even more great no-prep kits for specific skills.  We already have more than 60 of these no-prep kits completed (in addition to the other worksheets) and we’re prioritizing pushing more through each week.  You can gain access to these worksheets and materials for $25 per month as a Full Member of The SLP Solution.  Join us today!  (Already a member?  Click here)
  • Teachers Pay Teachers: There are a ton of great digital materials on the website Teachers Pay Teachers that have been created by speech-language pathologists.
  • Hard Materials (Stuff in Your Office): If you have hard materials that you don’t have digital copies of, you have a few options.  You could use a document scanner to scan them in and save on your computer.  Or, you can simply hold them up for the camera to see.

How Do I Keep My Clients Engaged and Interested?

This is probably the biggest challenge with doing therapy online.  Many of your clients will do just fine with this, but others will struggle to focus, attend, and stay motivated when you’re not right there with them.  Here are our tips: 

  • Have a parent/caregiver join your session: It’s important to have an extra pair of hands on site.  Encourage caregivers to schedule a time with you when they’ll be available to help you out.  For younger children, the child can sit on the parent’s lap while they engage with your sessions.  For older children, the parent can just be nearby in case of tech or behavior problems.
  • Pull Up a Fun Reinforcer Activity: Just as you would pull out a game or activity during your in-person sessions, you can do the same during your online sessions.  This will just look slightly different.  Since you’re sharing your screen for your therapy activity anyway, just switch over to an engaging online activity, game, or video.  You can have these open in separate tabs or windows so you can just pop back and forth.  Here are some ideas to get you going: 

Online Games/Activities:

Choose a simple online game or activity that you can do in between reps of your session or that you can use as a conversation starter.  

Take for example this “Hidden Pictures” game.  Since you have control of the mouse (it’s on your screen), you can have the client describe to you the location of the hidden objects.  This can be used as a simple quick break from therapy in between reps.  Or, you can use it to practice the client’s skill in a more conversational context.  Or, you could simply have a conversation about the picture using the client’s new skill.  You could ask questions or have the client follow simple directions (touch a hat after you touch the football).  There are tons of great activities that can be packed into this one idea.  Click the button below to see all of our online game/activity ideas (we’ll be adding to this as we go along): 

Engaging Videos:

Use clips from an engaging video to make your session more engaging.  For older clients, you can use videos from their interests, such as this video of someone playing Minecraft.  Make sure you check these videos first and get them cued up before your session so your clients don’t have to watch the ads.  Again, this can be a simple break from therapy or something that you use to practice their skills in conversation.

For younger children, simple videos like this Baby Einstein video will keep them interested and engaged with the screen in between reps when you play clips from them.  We also love the Little Baby Bum videos for rewarding our littles for working on their skills.  Plus, you can always work on simple vocabulary and basic questions with the stimulus from the videos.

  • When All Else Fails, Switch to Parent Training: For some of your clients, you just won’t get much done via teletherapy.  Obviously, we would prefer that these clients be seen in person, but if you’re facing a global pandemic or some other reason that forces you to do your therapy online, try moving toward parent training.  Teach the parents a communication strategy and then ask them to play while you watch. Provide feedback on how the parent can interact with the child during play to promote those communication skills that you’re wanting to target.  For some of your clients, you may get them to engage with you for a few minutes and then the rest of the session will need to be on parent training.

How Can I Join the Membership?

Would you like some support throughout this situation?  Full Members of The SLP Solution get access to all of our digital resources and curriculum plus access to our private community to ask questions, share ideas, and get support.  Don’t do this alone, we’re all in this together and The SLP Solution is here to help.  Join today for $25 per month and get access to all of our support and resources: