Watch our webinar below - Teletherapy 101: a parent's guide
10 FAQs about Teletherapy
What is Teletherapy?
Teletherapy is a method of providing online therapeutic services that is becoming increasing popular. It uses video and audio conferencing via a trusted and secured medium.
What do I need to get started?
At minimum, a strong internet connection and laptop, tablet or smartphone with video and audio capabilities.
What age range is appropriate?
Teletherapy can work with any age! For young children or children who require more support, a parent, guardian or assistant should be present at all times.
How would my family benefit?
Teletherapy allows for more flexibility in the schedule of sessions, as it can be done at times that may be more convenient to the family. It empowers families to carry out therapeutic activities confidently, helping to improve independence outside of OT sessions. One of the great things about teletherapy is that it takes place within the child’s natural environment, using his/her own toys and tools. Finally, this could be a cost effective and efficient option for families, as it cuts out on travel time and expenses.
What does teletherapy look like?
There are different types of teletherapy – parent coaching or parent consultation, OT-child services, and assessments. Opal Kids currently offers parent coaching and parent consultation services. Please note that the sessions may be a mix of the two, depending on what we would like to work on. Before each session, there is a plan that’s agreed upon by both parties that will determine what will be addressed during the session.
Parent coaching: the parent or guardian is guided through the activities or tasks, including how to communicate effectively, how to set up the environment, and how to model the task appropriately.
Parent consultation: for this method the child may or may not be present, depending on the topic addressed (for example, the OT may want to see what the child does in his/her natural environment, to determine why a behaviour might be present). In this method, the OT aims to get as much information as possible on a specific issue, and together the OT and the family comes up with solutions.
OT-child services: this is for more “direct” contact between therapist and child. It involves interactive activities (on or off the screen), games, and table top work. This is suitable for school-aged children who can attend to the session appropriately. While it is advisable that an adult is present to supervise, the adult does not actively participate in the session.
Please note that teletherapy can work in conjunction with sessions in person: the clinic sessions will reinforce what is done during the teletherapy sessions, and allow for carry over into different environments.
Do I need to purchase new toys or materials?
The short answer is no. We will aim to use what you already have at home – existing toys, or different materials that are usually readily available. If anything else is required, we will discuss beforehand to determine what would be the best materials to use for the session.
How often are the sessions?
The sessions can be as often as you want. For younger children, shorter, more frequent sessions are recommended. The frequency of sessions will be determined by the family and the OT based on needs, availability and other factors.
How would I know if teletherapy is a good fit for my child?
It’s true that teletherapy is not the best option for some children and families. For those who need hands-on care, have significant motor, cognitive or sensory deficits (including vision and hearing), or have complex needs, may not be suitable for ongoing teletherapy. A parent consultation may be suitable in the first instance, particularly if it is the only current option available for therapy.
Teletherapy involves significant parent/guardian involvement to ensure the session is carried out, and also to ensure carry over into the child’s day-to-day tasks. Some families have dynamic family situations that may affect the efficacy of the sessions.
If you’re concerned that your child won’t attend for long, or that he or she may get distracted, not to worry! That’s exactly what the sessions are for! The OT will work with you to help understand the behaviours, problem solve, and implement solutions. The great thing about teletherapy is that it gives the OT a chance to see what happens in the child’s natural environment that may not be as controlled as the clinic, and empowers parents to manage unexpected behaviours as they occur.
How should I set up my home?
A quiet space (either on the floor or the table depending on the goals of the session) would be needed. If the goal of the session is to work on self-care skills such as brushing teeth, we may need to carry out the skill there. The goal of the session and any necessary materials or environmental considerations would be determined beforehand.
How do we set up an appointment?
Contact us to book a tentative appointment spot (this can be an existing spot for current clients, or a different time altogether).
We would then email guidelines and regulations.
Sessions can be booked for 30 minutes or one hour. Contact us for payment options. Your first session - a 30 minute parent consultation - will be free!
Payment would be made via direct deposit (Republic Bank or RBC), and a picture or scan of the receipt MUST be sent. (Payment can also be made directly to our office if applicable.)
Once receipt of payment is confirmed, your appointment will be confirmed and therapy can begin!
We will liaise beforehand to determine what area/s would be addressed in the session, and what materials would be needed.
The platform used will be doxy.me, a secure medical platform. There is no need for you to download an app, create an account, or log in to a website. We will send you the link to the OT chatroom, which you can access from your computer, tablet or smartphone. All that’s needed is a strong internet connection and access to video and microphone.