Accessibility,Technology January 29, 2021
Teletherapy: A Blessing in Disguise for Families of Children with Special Needs
Most families of children with special needs may have had their reservations about teletherapy even as it became obvious that in-person sessions may no longer be a safe option. Parents were uncertain and so were professionals about the efficacy of virtual therapy sessions. But leave it to passionate experts and diligent parents to figure out ways to support the learning of children at home. Thanks to some ingenious ideas, families are gradually beginning to appreciate the several advantages teletherapy brings.
Remote therapy, of course, is not without its limitations. Holding the attention of a child can be a challenge. Working on the child’s social skills may pose a few difficulties too. However, professionals have been resourceful in coming up with innovative ideas and exciting activities to address these challenges. Now that we are a few months into virtual sessions, we can see a few ways that teletherapy brings the best out of children.
Making the Most of Their Interests
Professionals may have used the learner’s hobbies or interests such as a favorite game or superhero for language learning activities at school. But following the lead of the child can be easier when they are at home. It also gives us a chance to develop skills in real-life situations..
If the learner wants to go play with their new lego set and shows no interest in staying glued to the screen, we can by all means allow that. It just presents another opportunity for us to build speech, language, and communication.
“Want to play?”
If the learner prances around or breaks into a dance, we can cash in on that opportunity to build language too.
See how teletherapy allows us to promote learning by tapping into the child’s unbridled curiosity and creativity?
More Family Involvement
This is probably the biggest upside of teletherapy. Parents and siblings get to be an integral part of the sessions. Professionals, too, get a chance to educate communication partners. And we all know how an informed communication partner can support a child’s progress more effectively.
Getting families involved can also motivate children more. The older sibling who had been unsure of how to use assistive apps can now watch and learn how to use them. Families get to understand the finer points of therapy instruction. The resultant collaborative effort of parents and professionals can help in obtaining practical solutions to the child’s communication/behaviour issues in everyday situations.
Learning Opportunities Galore
The huge grandfather clock in the living room and the tree in the backyard – all these can lead to learning opportunities in teletherapy. The pet who flippantly walks into the teletherapy sessions can be a topic of conversation too. Such interactions that are meaningful to the learner can help a great deal in developing the social and emotional skills of children.
Remote therapy sessions allow us to use mealtimes, playtime, and everyday activities as fantastic learning opportunities. Children learn and absorb more when they are having fun and feel at ease. Thus, teletherapy has opened up wonderful new ways to engage learners and build their speech, communication, language, and literacy.
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