At ESHC, we have been thrilled to continue our speech patients’ care through the Covid-19 pandemic online via Telehealth. Considering this is a big change for a lot of younger patients, we wanted to share a few tips to help your child succeed in online speech therapy sessions. Whether you are continuing treatment or just beginning, these tips may help your child sustain focus and remain engaged with their therapist.
Since the therapist is not physically in the room with your child, it may be hard for some children to manage their own bodies and stay on task. Parental supervision during the session is encouraged for children with attention challenges or lots of energy. Some children may be able to complete a session with just a check-in or two. Do what you feel is best to encourage your child!
Your child’s chair and their overall posture may affect their engagement in therapy sessions. Many young children are too small for the office chairs we use at our desks. If this is the case for your child, using pillows to support their back and a footstool to keep their legs from dangling is a good option. If your child’s attention improves with alternative seating methods, such as kneeling on the floor, laying on their stomach or sitting on something squishy like an exercise ball, accommodating them may lead to more active engagement.
Therapy is time for concentration, so it is important that distracting toys be put away while the therapist is conducting the session. There may be time during small breaks or at the end of the session to play, but during therapy, it is important to keep toys out of reach.
There are some exceptions! Some children carry toys to soothe anxiety or make themselves feel more secure. In these cases, it is perfectly fine for your child to hold their helper toy or have it present on the desk. Similarly, Play-Doh, silly putty, or squishy balls can help some children concentrate. We encourage these if needed!
Distractions come in so many forms – the television in another room, outdoor sounds, siblings, pets entering and exiting the room, you name it. You know your child and what distracts them better than anybody! Do what you can to limit the number of distractions during the therapy session.
At ESHC, we know it can be a little challenging at times to encourage a small child to sit still even for a few minutes, let alone for an entire remote therapy session. But with these tips, we hope you and your child can work together to make the most out of speech therapy!