Written by Lindsey Beer
As the UK Government urges us to stay at home, many of us are turning to technology to carry out a range of activities including work, socialising and support with our health. Teletherapy is being used by a range of professionals such as Speech and Language Therapists. Having recently started teletherapy, I wanted to share some advice to help both clients and therapists based on lessons learnt so far.
Top Tips for Clients
Prior to your appointment with the Speech and Language Therapist, consider where in your home your session will occur. Find a quiet location in your house with good lighting and away from windows, which can cause glare especially on a sunny day. Where possible and appropriate sit, at a table and if using a device set it up in a stable position.
Before your session take some time to get familiar with the teleconferencing software you will be using. Your therapist may send you a guide or recommend a video tutorial for you to watch. This small amount of work beforehand will help things go more smoothly.
Your therapist may ask you to prepare something before the appointment. Please make this a priority, as it will maximise the effectiveness of the therapy and ensure you get the most out of the session.
Top Tips for Therapists
When using teletherapy for the first time with a client, arrange a short setting up session ahead of your initial appointment. Use this time to check the camera and audio equipment is working. You can trial any programmes or apps you may want to use in the session to ensure it is compatible with your client’s device or computer. It also gives you and your client an opportunity to get familiar with this new way of working together.
Have a low-tech version of your planned activities just in case things do not go to plan. This could be pdf. pictures or worksheets you can annotate on your computer, cards you hold up to the camera, or a whiteboard (either digital or real) to draw on.
Use any existing resources you have and adapt them. When initially planning my sessions, I was convinced I would need to buy and create lots of new activities. After doing some research I realised this was not the case. You can use the annotation functions on most teleconferencing software on digital resources and adapt what you have using programs like Microsoft PowerPoint. Activities can also be done live in front of the camera as they would be if you were in the client’s home.
Teletherapy is not new but recent events have meant more therapists will be using it. My recent experience using it has shown me how technology can help therapists provide efficient, creative and evidence-based therapy without the need to be in the client’s home.
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