Tools to help support your child to learn at home

There are many benefits that come with homeschooling but when you have a child with learning difficulties the simple things can quickly become more difficult. That’s why Speech and Occupational Therapists play a vital part in plan management. It is important that constant and clear liaison with health professionals and educational staff occurs and that ideas, suggestions and activities they provide are incorporated into an education plan.

Our experienced therapists provide you with fun based activities and games using visual supports such as signs, pictures and gestures to aid your child’s comprehension.  We also advise on the best types of activities to help your child along in their learning journey. Common strategies our therapists include into an educational program include:

  1. Adaptive Tools

Using adaptive tools such as special pencils, adapted scissors, pencil grips, writing paper or slant boards may be beneficial to support posture, fine manipulations to facilitate cutting and handwriting skills. An occupational therapist can assess your child’s need for these adaptions and assist you locate the best resources to support your child’s need.  Skillbuilders will have a great range of adapted tools. https://www.skillbuilders.com.au/

  1. Use of Timers

Using timers can assist by providing a visual cue for a set task duration. Your child can see how much longer they have to work on a task represented visually. There are many different styles of timers to select from and your therapist can guide your choice. Embedding rewarding activities into the routine after hard work is completed can increase motivation. We love the time timer range. https://www.timetimer.com/

  1. Use of motor breaks

After a period of desk top work has been completed a motor break may be necessary to prepare your child for the next period of work. The best motor breaks involve matching your child’s sensory needs with targeted sensory activities. Engaging your child in fun, deep heavy work (push and pull actions) for a few minutes can act as a reset button and will be recommended by any therapist.  

  1. Weaving special interests into tasks.

Finding ways to engage your child into less preferred tasks can be enhanced if you can find ways to embed their special interests. No matter what your child loves there will be a way to incorporate their interest into a learning activity. For example, a child’s special interests happen to be cogs and engines. You can find cog bordered paper, write about engine topics, research engine topics and experiment with engine manipulatives, use engine components to solve maths challenges.

  1. Finding the “just right” challenge

Finding the “just right challenge” for your child is exactly what your therapist is trying to achieve in every session, all session long! It is important to meet your child where they are, then push them just enough but keep it fun while stretching them as they can tolerate the new challenge. Your child should feel confident with the tasks they participate in and be able to build new learnings from where there are at.

How do you discover the “just right challenge”? Start with a task, then modify (add more or take away some part of the challenge) to reach that happy medium between too easy, which can lead to “I’m bored”, or “I’m so good at this I don’t need to try,” or too difficult, which can lead to defeat- “I can’t do this” or “this is too hard for me, I give up”.  You make little changes over the course of several attempts at a target activity. Your therapist can coach you on strategies to adapt tasks to increase or decrease the challenge.

Here at Therapy Connect we are dedicated to providing online therapy services using videoconferencing technology perfect for homeschooling situations. We provide families and children access to therapy at a location and time that suits. Our services are perfect for families who live remotely or find it difficult to travel. Check out our website and see how we can help you and your family today → https://therapyconnect.com.au/

What is Speech Therapy and how can it help my child?

Speech and Language Therapy is about helping children to communicate to the best of their ability. It allows our therapists to meet your child where they are at and identify how to move them forward in their speech, language and communication development as well as other areas of learning that may be impacted.  

There are many benefits to speech therapy and the results can show up in a variety of ways.

  1. The child’s ability to communicate in general is greatly improved

Children that struggle to exchange their wants and needs or ideas with others can become easily frustrated and can sometimes shut down because they aren’t feeling understood.  Speech Therapy assists your child in their overall communication development which can make them feel more confident in all areas of their world. Speech Therapy helps children to articulate words and sentences more clearly, aiding their learning in a positive way as they are no longer struggling with the basics of communication, giving them the ability to utilise their precious headspace to develop in their learning.  

  1. Their capacity to focus, engage and understand is improved.

It might seem like a child is not listening but in reality they just may not be able to understand the verbal and non-verbal communication cues that we use, such as facial expression or tone of voice, or be able to connect the dots in what we are communicating and asking of them. This can once again lead to frustration and withdrawal, hindering learning and growth.  Many kids are getting left behind in education these days because these foundational skills and struggles go unaddressed making the processing of knowledge significantly harder and more challenging for you child. Kids struggle to integrate their learning on these levels. Speech therapy can help grow their foundational learning skills, with positive side effects such as focus, the ability to engage and understand direction, and the ability to apply this to the world around them.

  1.   Develop good friendships & communication with others

There is nothing more isolating for a child who cannot communicate and build friendships with other children. Speech therapy can boost a child’s overall sense of happiness and wellbeing where they can grow in confidence with their communication, being able to form deeper bonds with their peers and those around them.  

The ability to verbally communicate is an important life skill.  Speech therapy can help in areas of Receptive and Expressive language, the ability to formulate information and connect the dots, through to autism challenges, intellectual disabilities and stuttering.  It’s about working on their foundational skills so they can better embrace their education, growth and the world around them.

Why not get in touch today for a Free consultation?  At Therapy Connect we are dedicated to providing online Therapy for children and families anywhere anytime.

https://therapyconnect.com.au/

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.