The Therapy Connect Story – Providing Access to Therapy Across Australia

Therapy Connect is a unique service in that they provide speech and OT supports to clients and families living all over Australia and even into Asia, all online via telepractice. They have a current team of 8 therapists. Their therapy team also live all over Australia.

They never meet their clients face to face. (unless on holiday!)

Telepractice, is “real-time delivery of assessment or therapy services by an allied health professional who links with a service user (parent, person with disability, education support worker, etc) by web based videoconference.”

 

Why did Therapy Connect start in telepractice?

How do they deliver therapy online?

Why do families keep coming back to Therapy Connect?

 

Why did Therapy Connect start?

Sue and Simone actually live on farms in regional areas in different states in Australia. They were introduced by a rural and remote allied health network due to their mutual interest in telepractice.  They both drove very long distances (hours) to provide speech and occupational therapy services in clinics. They knew that in rural and remote Australia families had a lack of choice of service providers and that people were waiting months and months for speech and occupational therapy services in regional and remote Australia.

The online world was changing the lives of families in rural and remote Australia. You could buy products and services online. Sue and Simone with the lived experience of isolation, believed that if they could work out how to deliver effective therapy supports online via telepractice, then TELEPRACTICE would have the potential to extend the reach of services and enable a family like theirs to have regular access to supports they need.

So…. They set about reviewing evidence and trialling approaches. The emerging evidence consistently suggested that telepractice; appeared to be as effective as face-to-face services, and was highly acceptable to consumers.

Having only met in person 3 times, but regularly via videoconference, Sue and Simone agreed that they were so aligned in their practice approach and thinking that they joined forces and in August 2015 Therapy Connect was formed.

 

How does Therapy Connect deliver therapy online?

Sue and Simone consider there are two main differences to delivering a telepractice service compared to a face to face service.

Families require support in the “setting up phase” – To connect online, conceptualise how it will work, determine who would be working, where they would be working and how it all looks. etc.

Secondly, they needed to figure out how to adapt their sessions and resources to support an online delivery.

A session plan is developed in advance. All parties know the session activities and resources to prepare or gather in advance. For example, we might need materials printed, laminated, scissors, cardboard etc ready. They may select from a family’s or school’s collection of toys, books, board games etc. They may assist a family to gather specific resources. They may use digital games or Apps that can be screen shared in real time together.

 

Why do families keep coming back to Therapy Connect?

Therapy Connect partnered in some research with The University of Sydney to look more closely at their model, achievement of therapy goals, parent satisfaction, process of sessions and families’ perceptions of accessing therapy online.

They found that families were enthusiastic about accessing therapy by telepractice because it provided them with regular and consistent access to therapists with expertise in disability.

Therapists, teachers and parents said there were NO issues in engaging children in telepractice sessions. In some instances, parents reported increased engagement with telepractice sessions than face to face sessions. This was a great surprise.

Families liked that therapy was occurring in environments that are familiar and natural to their children. They could have access to therapy from their home or school.

Families were highly satisfied that their children achieved functional outcomes across a range of goal areas and across contexts home and school while working with Therapy Connect.

The available evidence now suggests that accessing quality therapy by telepractice can support a person-centred approach consistent with contemporary disability practice.

Sue and Simone consider Telepractice is a legitimate choice for disability services. Telepractice has to potential to equalise access for those that can’t find services.

Telepractice is here to stay and Therapy Connect is a growing business!

 

www.therapyconnect.com.au

Speech Pathology Australia interviews Sue Cameron at Therapy Connect about telepractice.

Meet Eden. Her diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy means she has difficulty moving her tongue and has difficulty communicating verbally. How does a speech pathologist from a different state assist her? #SPweek

Posted by Speech Pathology Australia on Friday, 25 August 2017

 

Meet Eden. Her diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy means she has difficulty moving her tongue and has difficulty communicating verbally. How does a speech pathologist from a different state assist her?

Therapy Connect Speech Pathologist Sue Cameron Featured in Speak Out

Sue’s interview with Speech Pathology Australia

https://speechpathologyaustralia.cld.bz/Speak-Out-Feb-2017

Pandora’s story; Occupational therapy via telepractice to remote Northern Territory

Pandora, age 7 years Lives at Uluru, Northern Territory.

Pandora is diagnosed with Autism and experiences issues around executive functioning, fine motor, gross motor skills and general development.

Pandora’s mother states,

 “I found my OT through a recommendation by Autism South Australia. We access our OT via telehealth (teletherapy) due to living in a very remote area of Northern Territory. I would not have been able to access regular OT if it weren’t for telehealth.
 
Working with my OT has improved my child’s skills, provided mentoring to me as mother and generally been a base of support through quite a scary journey of ASD diagnosis. My OT has given me hope in progress and the future.
 
Since working with my OT Dora’s confidence has gone through the roof! The support tools have been able to be applied both at school and at home. OT has given Dora support tools that are specifically targeted to her (no google research!). Due to increased confidence, Dora is able to develop her handwriting skills, better understand, manage and express her emotions leading to increased social skills.
 
I greatly appreciate my OT. Her ability to work with the school instead of just me has been amazing. She has taught not only me but the school how to interact and to change strategies to be more supportive. For example, to support handwriting skills, giving of instructions using direct language and resource books for social skills. My OT has helped me by modelling both the process and language to use to help teach Dora to manage situations in her day”.

Therapy Connect would like to thank Pandoras family for sharing her story.

About Therapy Connect

Therapy Connect is a therapy service offering high quality teletherapy supports online using videoconferencing. “We offer a coordinated team approach meaning that families can access Therapy Anywhere Anytime”.

Therapy Connect is owned and operated by Simone Dudley and Sue Cameron. Simone is an Occupational Therapist with over 20 years clinical experience working in paediatrics across both the public and private sectors in rural & regional NSW.

Sue Cameron is a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist with more than 25 years experience working in health and education. Together they are passionate about ensuring country people have access to high quality services.

Contact Therapy Connect to find out how we might be able to help you.

Our Top 10 RESOURCES for providing online Speech Therapy

 

  1. Webber Hear Builder

HearBuilder is an interactive online language program that can be accessed on a computer or tablet. It has four types of activities; Following Directions, Phonological Awareness, Auditory Memory and Sequencing.

An annual ‘Specialist’ subscription allows me to track the progress of 20 students and to set the levels of difficulty at an instructional level for each student.

Students can logon using a computer or the free apps for each activity can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. The program is cumulative so as the child masters skills at one level they automatically progress to the next level.

HearBuilder was developed by Super Duper Publications.

  1. HelpKidzLearn

HelpKidzLearn is a collection of software for young children and those with learning difficulties to play online. The software is split into five sections: Early Years, Games and Quizzes, Stories and Songs, Creative Play and Find Out About.

I purchase an annual subscription to HelpKidzLearn and use its motivational games and songs using screen sharing to help engage with children online.

  1. eLr Extra Language Resources

 

eLr is a comprehensive collection of speech, language and literacy resources that are presented on-screen . The therapist purchases a subscription and allocates suitable activities for clients. The activities can be used during therapy sessions by screen sharing or families can complete activities on their computer or tablet for home practice. The graphics are a bit dated but children enjoy the on-screen format and motivating games.

 

  1. Zoom videoconferencing program

I choose to use Zoom because:

It is easy for clients to join a meeting. They just need to click on a link we send by email.

The screen sharing function is great. You can share the desktop, a whiteboard and iPad and iPhone apps. You can share your computer’s audio which is important when you are sharing a program that has sound. You can give remote control of your screen to your client.

It is free for 1:1 meetings or for the first 40 minutes of a group meeting. I chose to buy Zoom Pro so I can access reports about my meetings, particularly the duration of meetings. I can also host group meetings without any time limits.

Sessions can be recorded (with permission of course!)

  1. Ookla Speed Test

Ookla Speed Test is a quick and reliable way to trouble shoot internet connection problems. When videoconference quality is a problem, both parties can do a speed test to determine whether the internet speed is adequate to support videoconferencing. Sometimes internet speed can be increased by moving to another room or moving closer to the router. At the least, you can see which end of the conference is having difficulty.

WARNING: Don’t be tricked into clicking on any advertising on the speed test page!

  1. BIRRR

Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia is a group of volunteers aiming to help country Australians sought out their internet issues. They have a website with information and links and an active Facebook page with quick responses to your questions about internet connectivity (or otherwise!) BIRRR are wonderful advocates who are trying to address the great ‘data divide’ between metropolitan and rural internet users.

  1. Small whiteboard and marker.

A whiteboard is useful to write the session’s activities on and then cross them off as completed. It can be used for barrier games, to demonstrate what you would like a helper to draw on a page and, in the worst case scenario, to give written instructions about how to turn on the computer audio!

 

  1. ABC Kids and PBS Kids

The ABC KIDS website is designed to appeal primarily to pre-school children. It provides a gateway to online content relating to ABC KIDS TV programming, as well as providing games and activities that will appeal to this age group.

PBS Kids is the brand for most of the children’s programming aired by the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States. It has educational games and videos from Curious George, Wild Kratts and other PBS KIDS shows.

  1. EPIC! Books

Epic! is an e-library with over 20,000 books for children 12 and under. The library includes a large selection of fiction and non-fiction titles which can be read together online or the child can choose a ‘Read-to-me’ book which is read aloud. It can be difficult to demonstrate how to read books together online unless you each have a hard copy of the same book at either end of the videoconference. I can demonstrate how to use books for language modelling and comprehension and then give feedback to the helper to develop their skills.

  1. TWINKL

 

Twinkl is an online educational publisher. After purchasing a subscription you can download lots of activities suitable for children of all ages. Twinkl publishes lesson plans, power point presentations, resource packs, worksheets, interactive activities and teaching ideas. I regularly download activities to use in my language, articulation and phonological awareness therapy programs.

 

About Therapy Connect

Therapy Connect is a therapy service offering high quality teletherapy supports online using videoconferencing.  “We offer a coordinated team approach meaning that families can access Therapy Anywhere Anytime”.

Therapy Connect is owned and operated by Sue Cameron and Simone Dudley.

Sue Cameron is a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist with more than 25 years experience working in health and education. Simone is an Occupational Therapist with over 20 years clinical experience working in paediatrics across both the public and private sectors in rural & regional NSW. Together they are passionate about ensuring regional and remote families have access to high quality services.

Contact Therapy Connect to find out how we might be able to help you.

 

Clients talk about working with Therapy Connect

Listen to Therapy Connect Clients discuss their experiences with accessing speech and occupational therapy online via videoconference.

FAQs How Does Online Speech and Occupational Therapy Work?


How does online therapy work?Danny

Online therapy uses videoconferencing technology to deliver therapy services over the internet wherever you may be; at home, school, preschool or childcare.

Online is just like face-to-face speech therapy but instead of sitting across the table from the therapist you will be viewing each other across the internet on your computer screens. Therapists are working in real time with children and families or helpers using established best practices. We work to link therapy strategies into daily routines at home, childcare, kinder and school.

Therapy Connect can schedule appointments at a time that suits.

 

What technology is required?

All you need is a computer or tablet with a camera, microphone and an internet connection. If you don’t have the internet or your connection is too slow, we will try to find an internet facility in your community that you can use. Our therapists will help you connect to the browser based videoconferencing platform used. There is no software to install or download.

 

What Resources do we use?

Activities are determined according to the child’s individual needs and may be digital (presented on the screen) or hands on. Activities can be mailed or emailed before your session. Parents may be asked to gather up materials, toys, books or other items ready for a therapy session. We may suggest storing them in a box ready for therapy sessions.

We may use a variety of digital resources such as turn taking games, stories, interactive activities where we screen share so both the child and therapist are working together. These activities are selected to build up specific skills relating to therapy goals.

 

Who does Therapy Connect work with?

Therapy Connect therapists are highly experienced in working with children aged 0-12 years and their families.

Children we work with may experience difficulties with; language and communication, sensory processing, attention and concentration, fine motor and handwriting, daily routines such as toileting and managing mealtimes, behaviour and social skills.

We work with families, carers and educators to link strategies into daily routines in order to achieve therapy goals.

Our focus is always on coaching the people in the child’s life who will have the most opportunity to practise strategies in real life environments. The parent or helper needs to be present during the therapy session just as they would in a clinic based session.

 

Where does Therapy Connect work?

We work in the child’s natural settings so that therapy strategies can be linked in to typical routines. Sessions are usually conducted with children in their homes, schools, preschools, kinder or community centre.

 

Does the evidence support online services?

There is evidence that clinical outcomes and client satisfaction with online therapy are equivalent to conventional face-to-face therapy.

Speech pathology evidence is that online therapy offers equivalent outcomes compared with traditional speech therapy. There is emerging evidence showing positive support for online occupational therapy.

Therapy Connect is partnering with the University of Sydney to conduct research on the acceptability and effectiveness of online therapy for children with disabilities. We aim to contribute to the body of evidence that supports telepractice as an industry.

 

What are the benefits of online therapy?

Online therapy offers increased frequency and access with no need for travel. This means that families can set the dosage of therapy they require. (weekly, fortnightly or monthly etc.). For many families who find it difficult to locate face to face therapy we can offer the significant benefit of increased access and frequency of service.

Sessions are easy to schedule and set up. Online therapy is engaging for children. Sessions are enjoyable and children look forward to therapy.

 

About Therapy Connect

Therapy Connect is a therapy service offering high quality teletherapy supports online using videoconferencing.  “We offer a coordinated team approach meaning that families can access Therapy Anywhere Anytime”.

Therapy Connect is owned and operated by Simone Dudley and Sue Cameron. Simone is an Occupational Therapist with over 20 years clinical experience working in paediatrics across both the public and private sectors in rural & regional NSW.

Sue Cameron is a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist with more than 25 years experience working in health and education. Together they are passionate about ensuring country people have access to high quality services.

Contact Therapy Connect to find out how we might be able to help you.

 

 

 

5 Tips to Get your Child Talking.

Children who are not talking at 2 years of age are considered to be late talkers. We expect a 2 year old to have around 50 words and be putting words together. If your 2 year old is late to start talking this is a good time to get advice from a Speech Pathologist.

In the meantime, here are some strategies to get them going.

  1. Accept any form of communication.

It is all about getting the message across. If your child gestures, points, grunts or brings objects to you, respond to the meaning. “You want your shoes on.” “Look, a big truck.” “You’ve finished. No more.” “Yes, it’s raining.”

 

  1. Say what you think your child would say.

When your child gestures for you to pick them up, say “Up” or “You want to get up”. When they can’t get the lid off, say “Stuck. Mummy help.”

 

  1. Give your child lots of opportunities to use the words or communication they do

If your child says “oh-oh”, model it lots of times during the day and allow time for them to imitate. If your child can wave “bye-bye”, encourage them to do it often. Wave and say “bye-bye” to the animals as you put in them in the barn and the soft toys as you put them to bed.

 

  1. Interpret what your child is trying to say to others.

Help your child out when they try to communicate with others. “You want Nana to read a book”. “Yes. That’s your new truck.” “You don’t want any more dinner.”

 

  1. Keep the interactions going by getting your child to point or show you things.

“I’ve got a sheep. Can you get more sheep?” “Baby is thirsty. Give her a drink.” “What else can we put in the shopping basket?”

Remember ….. it is important to follow your child’s lead. Match your language to what your child is doing. Use every-day routines to model language and encourage your child to communicate. Don’t be afraid to use the same language over and over. Children love repetition.

Sue Cameron is a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist with Therapy Connect, a unique private therapy service offering high quality speech and occupational therapy supports, online, using videoconferencing. “Providing online therapy means that families can access Therapy from Anywhere at Anytime”.

Therapy Connect is owned and operated by Simone Dudley and Sue Cameron. Simone is an Occupational Therapist with 20 years clinical experience working in paediatrics across both the public and private sectors. Sue is a certified speech pathologist with more than 25 years experience working in health and education.

Contact Therapy Connect to find out more.

 

NEW! Speech and Occupational Therapy services delivered online?

Are you on wait lists for therapy supports?

Do you travel long distances for therapy?

Do you want high quality therapy services?

There is an alternative…

Therapy Connect – Online Therapy …Therapy Anywhere, Anytime.

We can deliver services over the internet wherever you or your child may be; at home, at school, at preschool/kinder or at childcare.

Therapy Connect is a unique private health service, offering online speech and occupational therapy supports to children and families experiencing developmental difficulties, by videoconference.

At Therapy Connect we are passionate about giving families increased choice and access to high quality therapy supports. We understand child development, disability and family life. We help you set goals that you care about.

Using videoconferencing, we can observe your child in various settings and situations to understand their likes, dislikes, strengths, interests and needs. We help you link therapy strategies into daily routines at home, childcare, kinder and school. We can provide online therapy supports across all of the settings your child participates in such as home, childcare, playgroup, kinder and school. All you need is a computer or tablet with a camera and microphone and an Internet connection

See our short video https://youtu.be/yitL1Tkmbxg explaining how we work.

It is Easy!

You can make an appointment with us and set the frequency that is needed for you and your child.

It works! 

You can receive effective online therapy from speech pathology, occupational therapy and psychology.

We are Experienced! 

Professional and experienced, Therapy Connect incorporates best practice evidence into your therapy.

No travel time or expense! 

Therapy Connect is ideal for families who live remotely or find it difficult to travel.

Children stay in their natural settings! 

Therapy Connect can conduct sessions with children at home, school, preschool or childcare.

Therapy Connect is owned and operated by Simone Dudley and Sue Cameron. Simone is a registered Occupational Therapist with over 20 years clinical experience working in paediatrics across both the public and private sectors in rural & regional NSW. Sue Cameron is a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist with more than 25 years experience working in health and education. Together they are passionate about ensuring country people have access to high quality services.

Click on Therapy Connect to find out more about how we might be able to help you.

An Online Occupational Therapy Session across 3 continents of the world. Distance is no barrier.

Online TherapyAs an occupational therapist I provide online therapy services to families where it is difficult for them to find face-to-face therapists. Who would have thought I could conduct a session spanning 3 continents of the world. Well I did.

I was familiar with providing online therapy sessions to families living in Australia and overseas. But one great family and their 5 year old son, Tom were a bit special.

They lived in Asia and couldn’t find a suitable occupational therapist nearby. I became their therapist despite living in Australia. We had weekly sessions via videoconferencing using Skype for a period of time. The therapy session focus was always to support Tom with his sensory processing differences and develop his planning and organizational skills. We were making some great progress at around the time the family were due for their extended summer holiday break, where Tom was going to stay with a family friend in Italy for 4 weeks.

Guess what? They decided to take me with them on their son’s holiday to Italy!

No. I did not physically go to Italy, rather our online sessions continued whilst they were in Italy.  It so happened that the family friend was an early childhood teacher and very interested in the occupational therapy session content.

During the 4 weeks Tom, his Italian teacher and I had weekly sessions. We had to find the best time of day to manage the 8-hour time difference.  During our session together we explored how to integrate daily sensory experiences that met Tom’s unique needs in his new holiday environment. He had daily “heavy play” activities such as throwing large rocks into the nearby creek, long bike rides and hammock swings.

We also collaborated on how to create visual supports for him to increase his independence and organization around certain times of the day. He tried a new holiday timetable broken into morning, afternoon and night activities that he could select from.

We also trialed a range of sensory supports to help with calming and self regulation. Tom created a scrapbook to help him learn about what sensory strategies worked best for him in finding that “calm alert” state needed for play, helping and holidaying.

All holidays come to an end and Tom was joining his family for further adventures in France. Unfortunately I could not join them on that adventure. With Tom in Italy and his family still in Asia we needed to meet to catch up on all of the great new discoveries and achievements that Tom had made whilst in Italy. I suggested we try a 3-way videoconference. Asia, Italy and Australia. Could it work? We found a suitable time that we could all meet (a challenge across 3 time zones!). Three key people to support Tom, across three continents of the world, with three different time zones meeting to share ideas, thoughts and progress. We did it. It worked. We all marveled at how easy this was. Tom’s family were able to continue meaningful and effective therapy whilst he was on the other side of the world. This is because this family chose to use online therapy or teletherapy, provided by me.

Teletherapy is available to anyone. This story highlights that no matter the distance and isolation, effective therapy supports can be provided using teletherapy or online therapy. I imagine what could be achieved in Australia with the vast distances we have, by using teletherapy.

About Therapy Connect

Therapy Connect is a therapy service offering high quality teletherapy supports online using videoconferencing.  “We offer a coordinated team approach meaning that families can access Therapy, Anywhere, Anytime”.

“We collaborate and work in partnership with families for the benefit of their child. We share our knowledge and skills. Using videoconferencing, we can observe children in various settings and situations to understand their likes, dislikes, strengths, interests and needs”.

“We help the family link therapy strategies into daily routines at home, childcare, kinder and school. We can provide online therapy supports across all of the child’s settings such as home, childcare, playgroup, kinder and school”.

Therapy Connect is owned and operated by Simone Dudley and Sue Cameron. Simone is an Occupational Therapist with over 20 years clinical experience working in paediatrics across both the public and private sectors in rural & regional NSW.

Sue Cameron is a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist with more than 25 years experience working in health and education. Together they are passionate about ensuring country people have access to high quality services.

Contact Therapy Connect to find out how we might be able to help you.

Loanne M, Wootton R. A review of telehealth. Med Princ and Prac 2001; 10(3): 163-170