Can’t Find An Occupational Therapist? Try Online Therapy!

cant find an occupational therapist

Teletherapy is online therapy using videoconferencing technology.

 It can be hard finding or getting in to an occupational therapist if you live in a remote, regional or outer metropolitan area. Even some families living overseas find it hard to find an English-speaking therapist nearby to support them. All of the travel, expense, time taken from work and school activities make it difficult to access therapy for many families.

There is an alternative. Online Therapy. Teletherapy.

Teletherapy refers to the delivery of services where the therapist and client are separated and use technology such as videoconferencing to conduct a therapy session. Telepractice provides the opportunity for instant communication across geographic distance, facilitating access to therapy services for people living in rural and remote areas. (Loanne & Wootton, 2001)

How does it work?

The Therapist and the family prepare for the session in advance so resources needed are at hand or emailed through. The therapist, parent/carer and child have a session much like they would if in a clinic, however the emphasis is on coaching the parent/carer through the session to work on therapy goals.

Consider a family who lives in rural Victoria, with two children diagnosed with Autism. Their closest available therapist is a 2.5 hour drive with long waiting lists.

Within a week an appointment for a teletherapy session was arranged. The family stayed in their home for the session and used their own computer. The therapist used videoconferencing software to provide therapy supports from her office over the Internet. The supports included coaching around toileting and managing sensory processing differences in daily routines. This was so effective that the family then requested an additional teletherapy session with the school teacher and team psychologist. This needed to be done before school, which was now possible because no travel time was required. A 3 way Skype with the therapist, psychologist and teacher was conducted to address school participation and how best to support anxiety.

This level of therapy support for this family was only possible because of teletherapy.

There are many benefits when using online therapy.

Its Easy: You can make an appointment at a time that suits at a frequency that suits. You are not locked in to a visiting therapist’s timetable and as such can have as frequent appointments as you need at times that suit you.

It works: There is evidence that teletherapy outcomes are as effective as face to face therapy outcomes.

No travel or expense: There is no time or money spent on travelling to appointments.

Children stay in their natural settings: Therapy sessions can be conducted at home, childcare, kindergarten or school. Children are in their natural settings.

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

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