With the majority of students opting for remote or hybrid learning models even a year after the pandemic, Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) at schools have been facing difficulties helping children achieve their speech goals. In this article, we share some interesting ideas to help therapists plan their telepractice speech therapy activities.
Here's how to do speech teletherapy for kids:
1.Keep parents involved
Getting parents involved is a critical component of speech therapy. The biggest advantage of online speech therapy sessions is that you can stay in touch with parents on a regular basis. Utilize this time to share your support and address any queries or concerns that they may have. Work together with parents to help them improve their communication techniques and establish a home environment that is understanding and supportive of stuttering children.
2.Stick to the same therapy routine
Children can feel unsettled with changes in routine. Even though you cannot replicate face-to-face sessions entirely in a virtual environment, try to retain as many aspects of the session as you can in your online speech therapy. For instance, you could get them to do their relaxation exercises, work through their fluency binder, and review their fluency journal or vocabulary. These teletherapy sessions are a great opportunity to let kids lead the conversation and express what's on their mind.
3.Open up about feelings
It might be easier for kids to discuss their feelings and emotions through a screen in a teletherapy session, than they would in a face-to-face session. Have an open conversation with them about their life, family or aspirations. By doing so, you would be teaching them to handle the challenges that they are facing in other areas of life due to stuttering. Start with a questionnaire or a worksheet where they can specify the emotional side to their stuttering problem.
4.Insist on carry-over
Distance learning is the best opportunity to carry over fluency strategies and techniques. Fluency can vary across environments, so this is a good time to observe how kids are doing in her home environment. Since children are likely to spend most of their time at home, you could talk to them about situations that might arise at home and show them how they can speak up for themselves. It could even be a hand signal that reminds the family members to wait till they are done stuttering.
Since kids might have limited contact with the community due to remote learning, encourage them to attend online face chats and make phone calls.
5.Use digital resources
There are plenty of resources and worksheets available online to help stuttering kids through teletherapy. Resources like fluency task cards are digital, interactive and cover many areas of therapy. Fluency binders are easy to go through together over a video call, all that you need to do is email pages for children to printout and add to their binder. You could also share pictures and videos from Google and Youtube that can be highly informative about the speech mechanism and spark interesting conversations.
Teletherapy for speech therapy need not be so much of a challenge, if you understand the child and her speech goals. Lay the foundation for your online speech therapy with aspects that the child is already familiar with, and then build on the other aspects of therapy.
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