What is Teletherapy?


What is Teletherapy?

The term Teletherapy catapulted into mainstream vocabulary at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Simply, it is therapy provided online as is synonymous with Telehealth. As an occupational therapist, I have been interested in providing Teletherapy for many years. I believed it would allow me to provide treatment to individuals outside my direct geographical location. The barrier has been mostly due to insurance companies not approving services online, but the pandemic forced them to make this service available for therapy to continue when services in clinics and homes were not possible.

How Does Teletherapy Differ?

Although much of the therapy provided online is the same as in person, there are some differences with Teletherapy. Mainly, the therapist often requires the assistance of the parent for setup and even ongoing participation for younger children. As a therapist, I also believe that I require more setup on my end as well. The treatment also requires the therapist to be prepared with activities that can keep a child’s attention on the screen. This may be through the use of additional digital resources or being more animated during the interaction.

Does Teletherapy Require Equipment?

Aside from a screen with internet connection, most Teletherapy sessions would not require any additional electronic equipment. A therapist may suggest a platform or app to use to have a more secure account. Sometimes additional lighting like a ring light can be helpful in a room. A document camera can also be useful but not necessary. As a therapist, I use a document camera to provide a better view of demonstration of what my hands might be doing. It also provides a way to zoom into the view.  In addition, a therapist may provide a list of useful household items or small toys that may be useful in a session like playing cards, coins, cotton swabs and school supplies such as crayons, scissors, and paper.

What Else Should You Know?

Your therapist may provide a list to prepare you for a Teletherapy session. I have included here a list of tips you may find useful. Overall, it is important to know that Teletherapy can be equally beneficial to some families as in-person services. Some find it even more so as it provides an opportunity to learn more about the home environment and more time for parent coaching.

Many occupational therapists around the world provide treatment through Teletherapy with each providing a unique perspective and their own creativity. You can learn more about Teletherapy in this video interview with occupational therapist and fellow YouTuber AdamtheOT.

Watch the interview to learn more about Teletherapy from the both of us, two pediatric occupational therapists currently treating children in-person and online. Use this link to watch directly on the Playapy YouTube channel.

Amy Baez is the Founder of Playapy and Creator of the PALS Handwriting Program. She is a pediatric occupational therapist, speaker, and parent coach with over 20 years of experience.