Did you know that families living in rural and remote regions have accessed Allied health services remotely, with success, for years?
We have a team of highly experienced clinicians who have availability to support individuals and families with ASD and other abilities through teletherapy services. Our clinical team of Behaviour Specialists and Occupational Therapists can deliver clinical supports and therapies over laptop, tablet or phone.
We know many therapies have been put on hold, or families are sitting on extended waitlists requiring immediate support. Our highly experienced clinicians are ready to help!
Although each teletherapy session will be different and individualised to the family and childs goals, we wanted to give a bit of an insight into the potential from a teletherapy session.
We have a combination of OT’s and Behavioural Specialists on our team, meaning all teletherapy sessions will differ according to the type of service accessed and the child and families goals. We have had a few families reach out with questions around what to expect with a teletherapy session, so for that sake we have decided to write a blog post on it!
Although typically some OT’s work in a gym setting, many around the globe don’t! This means that OT’s are trained to make use of household items in very creative ways to reach your childs goals!
We individualise our treatment sessions for each child and family circumstances utilising the available resources. In the first session we touch base regarding available resources within the home environment and ensure our programming utilises these items.
Some frequently used household items in teletherapy sessions:
- Craft activities
- Couches and pillows
- Spinning chairs
The crawling over uneven surfaces in the gym… You can crawl over pillows and blankets at home. The fine motor activities in the gym… You can hide items in playdough or do some craft activities. The obstacle courses in the gym… You can crawl under a chair, over a couch, jump on the trampoline and finish with a dance! ANYTHING is possible.
In this blog we will talk about a specific example, that being an OT teletherapy session with one of our OT’s.
Prior to this session the OT touched base with the caregiver via email to get a brief understanding of what current challenges the child was having, goals for the teletherapy session and a brief understanding of the child.
Discussion with parent/caregiver
For this family the caregiver decided that it was best for the first session for the child not to be present in order to maximise the use of time.
Topics of discussion were around:
- Further insight into current challenges for this family and child
- Current strengths of the child
- Further insight into current goals for the child- being around regulation, posture and fine motor skills
- Further insight into the families hopes and goals for teletherapy
- Resources that are readily available within the home environment
The discussion then involved a lot of education from the therapist, around:
- Education provided around why these challenges may be occurring
- Education around suggestions to help achieve goals
- Demonstration of activities where necessary
- Further explanation of WHY activities are recommended and how they are directly targeting the goals mentioned earlier.
The discussion then allowed for:
- Opportunity for any questions the caregiver had for the therapist
- Collaboratively problem-solving solutions
- Actively listening to any concerns, the caregiver has and supporting them through these
- The caregiver was emailed a copy of discussion and questions from the session
- The caregiver was also emailed further exercises and a small home program to implement
- Ensuring the family has a copy of all that was discussed for future reference
More specifics of this session
This family reported the child was having an increasingly difficult time with handwriting. Through further discussion with the caregiver around other challenges the child was experiencing, it posed the question to the therapist about this child’s ability to activate his inner core muscles. Without activation of core muscles, it makes everyday activities challenging, and can have a detrimental impact on fine motor development and control, as well as a range of other activities.
This was discussed in greater length and the caregiver agreed to make further observations, as this was something that hadn’t really been looked at before. Upon further education and clues of what to look for, the caregiver was able to investigate further.
After the session the caregiver felt better equipped to make observations and then reported that the child in fact had to support his body with his non dominant arm to sustain an upright seated position. This demonstrated to both the therapist and caregiver that his core muscles were in fact needing some support to activate and strengthen.
It was recommended by the therapist to continue with the home program exercises, specifically targeting goals around posture and core stability. It was also recommended to continue implementing the strategies discussed within the session to support his goals around regulation and fine motor development.
Immediate feedback from the caregiver post session #1
"Thank you so very much for your help today.
In that short time you have listened more and offered more help than any of the services we have had access to locally, it’s actually made me feel a bit emotional!"
Quote from the care giver after implementing the home program activities.
"Throw to him, even in a couple of days I am noticing that he can stand on it for longer without falling off; we started out very unsteady!
Pushing me across the room has so far been successful in helping with regulation and I have been stepping in to try this and other activities when I can see that he is getting upset or frustrated and so far we have avoided full escalation.
Going back to the writing, have done a fun circuit beforehand he was happy to write a full shopping list for me (writing is something that is usually met with protect as soon as I suggest it)."
What future sessions would look like
For this family it would be beneficial to have both the child and caregiver present in future sessions to allow more critical assessment of the childs movement and postural system, as this is where this family’s main goals stem from.
Future sessions would allow the child and caregiver the opportunity to practice home program activities with live coaching and feedback from the therapist to ensure correct technique and maximum benefit from the exercises. This would help to better equip the child and caregiver to implement and practice these skills successfully within the home environment. As the child progresses further additions to the home program activities would be made, ensuring ongoing alignment with the families goals. The family is provided with ongoing support via email to answer any questions or support through concerns as they arise.