Providing innovative, motivating, and effective occupational and physical therapy sessions for school based students is very possible in a remote setting.
Along with the typical equipment needed for teletherapy sessions, using a second webcam and/or document camera can be very helpful. The second camera allows the therapist to demonstrate and model movement skills. Further, creating and providing kits for students that contain supplies for participating in sessions is important. For example, an OT kit may contain items such as scissors, markers, pencils, pencil grips, paper, and tongs. Communication in the form of phone calls and emails regarding what students will need to fully participate in the session and work toward their IEP goals should be provided to the teaching assistants, caregivers, or learning coaches well ahead of the first scheduled session. The toolkit items and space where the student will engage in movement skills practice in front of their own webcam should be discussed at the IEP meeting.
Along with having the tools and equipment for sessions lined up ahead of time, make sure to include additional digital activities to round out your sessions and help maintain student engagement.
When providing services in the remote setting, it is important to prepare for the unexpected. Always have several alternative activities at the ready in case student attention wanes. Also, if planning on using printable activities, ensure that the caregiver or teaching assistant is actually willing and able to make copies. Sharing digital activity URL’s, instructional videos, and PDF’s can also be useful for supporting home practice.
In general, preparation is the key to successful remote therapeutic sessions. And part of the planning includes knowing the student. Time spent finding out student interests and motivations is never a waste. Sometimes creating customized activities or themed sessions can go a long way to forming relationships with students and increasing engagement and goal progress.
E-Therapy is here to support the needs of not only students but our OT and PT providers. Check out the latest OT and PT activities available for free in our ever-expanding resource library. These activities were designed with both teletherapy and onsite sessions in mind.