Teletherapy, also known as online therapy or telepractice, has been around for years, even decades in some form. Hundreds of schools and school districts across the US offer Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Counseling Services online.
As this means of service delivery has become technically easier to provide, it has grown in popularity. The myths and misconceptions about teletherapy have also grown. Here are a few of the common myths and misconceptions that we hear at E-Therapy.
MYTH #1: Teletherapy doesn’t work/It’s not as effective as in-person therapy
The most persistent myth about teletherapy is that it doesn’t work. Some feel that the only way to be effective and really help students make progress is to work in-person. But this just isn’t so. In fact, to provide teletherapy, qualified therapists must provide services as effective as an onsite therapist, and the national organizations require that teletherapists adhere to high standards.
According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association,
“Telepractice (telehealth) is an appropriate model of service delivery for the profession of speech-language pathology [and audiology]… The quality of the services delivered via telepractice must be consistent with the quality of services delivered face-to- face.”
MYTH #2: Teletherapy doesn’t provide steady work
The amount of work a teletherapist has depends on the hours they need and where they are licensed.
When a therapist works with a quality teletherapy service like E-Therapy, their Account Manager does their best to make sure they have the hours requested, can build their caseloads as they wish as well as maintain that work. With our nationwide access, we even suggest additional states they may want to pursue licensure in.
MYTH #3: Teletherapy limits the materials a therapist can use
A lot of therapists worry about what materials to use when they get started in teletherapy. Many get concerned that they will be limited in what they can use, that they’ll have to purchase all new digital materials, or that they’ll have no use for all their current hands-on supplies.
The truth is that most therapists in teletherapy get to use MORE materials.
They use digital materials, which are often free, such as E-Therapy’s resource library in our STAR Dashboard.
Teletherapists also find ways to incorporate their hands-on materials, so students get the best of both worlds.
MYTH #4: Teletherapists can only work in the state where they live
Therapists are often disheartened if they find there are limited teletherapy jobs in their state. But the great thing about teletherapy is that it’s not limited to one state. In fact, the more state licenses a therapist has, the more opportunities there are to find openings and work with students in need of your services.
MYTH #5: Teletherapist need specialized equipment
There is no need for special equipment in most cases. To get started a therapist delivering online speech therapy or occupational or physical therapy needs a computer – which most therapists have at home – along with a webcam and a microphone. These can be purchased easily if your computer isn’t already equipped. If you need something else, like a document camera, you can purchase this as needed. And remember – it’s a tax write-off!
MYTH #6: Teletherapists are not part of a team
Some therapists hesitate to move into the teletherapy setting because they feel they won’t be part of a collaborative team, and will feel more isolated than before. In reality, the opposite is true. Being at the computer, and working with others who work online, can make it even easier to reach out to team members, get or give information quickly, and be connected throughout the day.
For students that are in a virtual school, our therapists find they are connected with more parts of the team, including the families! Our therapists get to “meet” a lot of the parents and check in with them at each session, rather than just seeing them at a yearly IEP meeting.
MYTH #7: I won’t feel as connected to my students
One thing is certain, many of our therapists feel they have MORE connection than ever before with their students and families. Working with students virtually, you often get to see them in their home environment. This allows you to get to know their families better, as well as see the space they live in and what some of their daily life and interests are.
MYTH #8: Student engagement will be low using teletherapy
Students tend to LOVE using computers for just about anything, so being able to listen to stories, play games, or even do a lesson online, is more exciting with teletherapy.
In some settings, when you only have one student, teletherapy allows you to have a deeper connection than you may have had in previous settings with multiple students. You get to know your student one-on-one and can tailor the session to their likes and needs.
MYTH #9: Teletherapy adds unnecessary screen time to the child’s life
Recently, there has been a lot of talk and studies to prove that screen time is not beneficial for most children, students, and their growing brains. This is one of the big myths and misconceptions about teletherapy. Online school and teletherapy are different than typical “screen time”. This screen time includes work, play, socialization, and communication.
These online activities allow students to engage and use their brains in new ways, much like they would in an in-person session. Teletherapy has the potential to help cut down on passive screen time by giving them activities and things to work on when they want to use the computer outside of their sessions.
Have further questions about how teletherapy can help students reach their goals and find success?
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