1. Be sure your computer and internet browser are updated.
- For your weekly teletherapy session you will need to use a laptop or desktop computer, not a tablet, phone to phablet. The screen display on tablets is just too small to adequately display both therapy resources and faces.
- If your computer operating system is more than 5 year old you should update it.
- Update your internet browser (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, Safari) to the most recent version.
2. Plan for smooth video and clear audio by optimizing your internet connectivity.
- You will need high-speed internet service. Plugging your computer directly in to your modem rather than relying on wireless will optimize your connectivity. Click HERE to learn how.
3. You’ll need a few low-tech items.
- Get a personal size whiteboard and a few erasable pens for your child to use during the spelling exercises in each teletherapy session.
- You will need a note pad and a pen or pencil to take notes while your watch your child's teletherapy session. (More on that later!)
- It is a good idea to have the clinician’s phone number handy in the unlikely case you have a technology problem and need to call your clinician on the phone.
4. Plan to be rested and relaxed.
- Try to schedule your weekly sessions at a time when both you and your child are most likely to be rested and relaxed. Fatigue and stress can derail learning!
5. Eliminate distractions.
- Turn off all media.
- Silence your phone and tablet ringers and alerts.
- Arrange for the care of animals and young children.
- Post a note on your outside door(s): “Video-conference in progress! Please do not ring the doorbell.”
6. Arrange your child’s seating at the computer.
- Seat your child in front of the computer in a straight chair or an office chair. If his/her feet don’t touch the floor provide a foot rest for stability.
- The computer screen should be as close to eye-level as possible to prevent neck strain.
Arms should be bent at the elbow, as close to a 90 degree angle as possible, to prevent fatigue
Provide your child with a mouse, not a track-pad, unless you are certain he/she can use a track-pad accurately and smoothly. (If your child has not learned to use a computer mouse be sure to tell your clinician.)
Be sure there is lighting on your child’s face so your clinician can easily see his/her facial expressions in the video-conference.
7. Arrange your seating behind your child.
- Seat yourself behind your child, out of his/her eye-shot but so that you can easily see the screen. This will make it clear to your child that he/she is in charge of interacting with the clinician.
- Be sure you have a clipboard or writing surface and a pen or pencil handy.
1. Come in to the video-conference as you did in your tech-check.
- Once you are in the meeting room you will connect your audio and your webcam, just as you did in the tech-check. After your computer’s audio and video are connected in the video-conference you can take your seat behind your child. Your clinician will take it from there!
2. Each face-to-face therapy session will have a similar flow and structure.
- In each session, the clinician will introduce your child (and you!) to a few new structured literacy concepts, explain each concept so that it is crystal-clear and then provide some supported and guided practice with the concept(s).
- The practice will focus on the new concept(s) but will also include concepts from previous weeks. In each session, the guided practice will tend to start with small segments, like listening to sounds and noticing letter-sound patterns, and move to progressively larger segments (reading words, spelling words, noticing the meaning of word parts, reading sentences, writing sentences, and reading and writing text). The clinician will select the most powerful practice routines for your child’s needs and, by watching, you will learn how to use the practice routines and the terminology.
After your online therapy session
1. After the session your clinician may provide you with some parent resource materials for the practice your child needs most.
- Keep your notes and the parent resource materials that your clinician provided together in a notebook or file box for easy access.
2. Plan your practice schedule for the days between sessions:
- Plan, each day, when your child will complete his/her online practice (~15 minutes at least 4 days a week).
- Plan when you will do the (~10-15 minutes at least 2-3 days during the week) offline practice using the parent resources provided by your clinician.
A schedule is the key here! And remember, it is imperative to practice when rested! Consider, for example, 15 minutes of online practice before school.
4. During the week jot notes in your notebook.
- Make a note of questions or observations that you want to discuss with your clinician at the end of the next session.