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How To Transform Your In Person Therapy Skills To Telehealth

How To Transform Your In Person Therapy Skills To Telehealth

  • Are your online OT skills in need of a quick makeover?
  • Do you ever wish you had a magic wand to transform yourself into an amazing online therapist?
  • Are you ready for your big telehealth debut?

If you’re a kind-hearted pediatric therapist who has a genuine desire to help kids, but your telehealth skills are not so pretty, I’ve got you covered. Don’t worry, you’re not alone…

Whether you’re brand new to online therapy or looking to level up, fortunately, you don’t need a fairy godmother’s magic to achieve success.

Ever since the pandemic, the occupational therapy profession has had to undergo a major transformation from what traditional therapy sessions look like.

If you’re a pediatric OT practitioner, now is the time to transition your in-person clinical skills to teletherapy skills.

As a matter of fact, if you want to transform your career and become an amazing occupational therapist in the world of telehealth, no wands are necessary!  All you need is an open mind and the right training to set you up for success!

Follow these 3 steps to make the magic happen!

#1.  Keep An Open Mind To Telehealth

If I could wave a magic wand, I’d wish for everything to go back to normal.  I wish that all the therapists who lost their jobs during the pandemic could find meaningful employment to not only fulfill their financial needs, but also be able to fulfill their desire to help kids and families.

The truth is, telehealth is here to stay… even after the pandemic is over.  There’s no going back to how things used to be in our profession.  You’ll have to make the transition to telehealth as effective service delivery model sooner… rather than later.

The time is now, and it’s best to accept this fact and have an open mind to learning all that you can to become competent and confident in your teletherapy skills.

#2.  Choose The Right Equipment and Telehealth Software

The second step to succeeding at telehealth is knowing which type of equipment and software is the best match for your needs and practice setting.

It’s also important to have a good understanding of the tech set up in order for your experience to go as smoothly as possible. I’ve done extensive research and there are definitely key features that you should know about before you invest in or before you start your telehealth services.  Important features such overall security as well as the ability to screen share, mirror, annotate and offer shared control, are just a few of the functions to help your sessions go from out-dated to outstanding.

#3. Use The Best Online Resources For Your Practice Setting

When it comes to evaluation, assessment and therapy activity resources, you’ll feel much more confident if you’ve prepared a variety of online resources.  It’s also essential for you to be able to access high quality continuing education and telehealth training to be the best online therapist you can be.

Imagine showing up to your online sessions with a full tool box of treatment ideas, assessment options and parent/caregiver consulting tips?  Wouldn’t it be a relief to know that you had all the tools required to best meet the complex needs of your clients and students?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some extra guidance and training, I’ve got you covered!  I spent the past 20 years working as an pediatric OT and am happy to share my experience and lessons learned.  The past 4 years I’ve been creating T School, a telehealth pediatric OT training program for my own clinical team at Stepping Stones Therapy Network, who cross train in both outpatient clinic and school settings.

All of that hard work paid off and when my clinic was forced to close it’s doors to in person sessions, we made the transformation from in-clinic to online sessions overnight.  Plus, the T School Program has already been “OT Tested and Kid Approved!”

When you’ve mastered the art of working online, it’s truly a rewarding feeling to share your “therapy magic” with kids and families through telehealth.

If you need some help in updating your tech skills and want to take your tech skills from mediocre to amazing, you’re in luck.

“T School ” or Telehealth for Pediatric Therapists was created for novice telehealth OT practitioners who want to feel more comfortable and confident while navigating the  technical and clinical aspects of online therapy.

T School will help transform your future career by helping you to succeed online, while strengthening an essential skill set that you’ll need to stay current and cutting edge within the occupational therapy profession.  Plus, you’ll receive AOTA approved CEUs upon successful completion of the course.

Telehealth Treatment Planning Made Easy

Telehealth Treatment Planning Made Easy

Do you ever find yourself asking, “What should I plan for therapy today?”  Or  “How am I going to keep my kids busy today?”

When it comes to planning  therapeutic activities for OT sessions online,  it definitely takes good communication and collaboration between therapist, parent or caregiver.

When kids come to the clinic, the answer to the question, “What are we going to do today?” often comes pretty easily, especially if you’re and OT with a closet or cupboard full of activities and ideas.

However, when it comes to working with kids virtually, this very same question has an extra degree of difficulty for a number of reasons.

Some of the biggest challenges of OT treatment planning for telehealth sessions are…

  1. You feel like you don’t have as many activity ideas for telehealth as you do for in person sessions.
  2. You don’t have the luxury of a therapy gym full of equipment or cupboards full of games and activities.
  3. Your clients may have different levels of support or access to therapy supplies at home.

So, what’s  a therapist to do?  How can parents or caregivers help support their child’s online OT session using every day household items?

Fortunately, the answer is a fairly simple solution.  When it comes to therapy activities for telehealth…

Telehealth treatment planning doesn’t have to complicated.  Start simply and make it easy by using items that the child already has at home.

There are a number of very common household items that most families will have on hand.  Some examples include: coins, paper, pencil, pens, clothespins or chip clips, rubber bands, recycled plastic containers, cups, canned food, kitchen tongs, cotton balls, Q-tips etc.

All you need to do is… harness your clinical reasoning skills, think creatively and add a sense of fun to help these household items go from functional to fabulous!

I’ve created a Telehealth Home Inventory Checklist to help you get started with your treatment planning.  Consider it as a starter kit for a home item checklist.  There’s no need to overwhelm yourself or your parents, with a giant of items they need for online occupational therapy sessions.

CLICK HERE To Get Your FREE Home Inventory Checklist

As a matter of fact, it’s helpful to review this checklist with parents the first session so you can get an idea of what supplies they already have at home.

Using the Home Inventory Starter checklist is  a quick win for everyone because it’s…

  • FREE
  • Convenient
  • Helps you plan future treatment planning knowing what materials are available to the child
  • Utilizes activities helpful for boosting kids development and can target specific fine motor or adaptive skills
  • Gives parents activity ideas to keep their kids busy and helps with carry over at home

The next question is… What are some ideas for using house hold items?

Share your favorite ideas in the comments below!

The New Reality of Pediatric Occupational Therapy

The New Reality of Pediatric Occupational Therapy

ATTENTION  to all pediatric therapists!  The time has come my friends, to accept our new reality that telehealth is here to stay!  How does that fact make you feel?

If you’re feeling anxious about telehealth or even a sense of loss if you’ve been laid off,  you’re not alone.  This pandemic has been extremely tough on everyone, and I guarantee that you’ll be faced with some pretty tough decisions ahead of you.

Did you ever read those Choose Your Own Adventure Books as a kid?  There was always a pivotal point in the story when the main character had to make a choice which led to 1.) a fantastic adventure with an awesome ending or  2.) an adventure with an unfortunate ending.

Fiction aside, the reality is, you have three choices when it comes to telehealth.  And the choice you make will not only impact your own career, it will affect the lives of kids who are in great need of your OT services.  It’s the same whether you’re working in school based practice, early intervention or outpatient practice… we all have kids that need our help.

You’ve got 3 choices.  Choose one (wisely) below.

#1.  Perish: You decide to close your practice or stop working.

#2.  Plateau:  Your practice holds steady, but doesn’t experience any growth and eventually is at risk of closing over time through attrition or another surge in the pandemic.

#3.  Pivot, progress and prosper: You’ve chosen to keep an open mind and are ready for a new adventure.

  • You learn all that you can about telehealth and set up systems to run a successful telehealth practice.
  • You become more comfortable and confident in your telehealth skills, and you see this translating to progress and improved outcomes in your clients.
  • Your students, clients and families take notice that teletherapy is truly making a positive difference in their daily lives.
  • Your referral sources are happy to refer you new clients because they’ve taken notice that virtual therapy sessions can be just as effective as in person sessions.

As a pediatric therapist, there is hope that your career can flourish as long as you’re willing to grow.  If you have an open mind and are willing to pivot your practice, telehealth can be the beginning of a renewed and fruitful career for you.

Now is the time to accept this new reality and that the new normal part of your work day includes adding telehealth to your therapy toolbox.

With the right continuing education and training, an open attitude and a little practice, I guarantee you, that your OT practice will not only survive… it can thrive.

Think back to the time that you decided to become a pediatric therapist… who was the child that gave you that inspiration? Whether you’re a new grad or a seasoned occupational therapist, your expertise and talent can extend beyond the walls of your brick and mortar building.

The online OT world is waiting for YOU to make an impact.   With so many practices shut down and schools closed for in person classes, children are isolated from their usual social networks and supports.  In other words, you are needed now more than ever before.

Imagine how many children’s lives you can positively influence by making your services accessible to them through telehealth.

If you have embraced telehealth and have already integrated it into your daily therapy sessions I commend you for being able to continue to serve your kids and families!

If you’re skeptical or scared of what lies ahead on your future career path, now is the time to pivot to telehealth.

Remember that no great adventure is without some obstacles along the way… If you start off well-prepared with the right training and equipment, you can embark on a new telehealth journey that you’ll find more rewarding than you could have ever imagined.

Adventure awaits… let me be your guide!

Click Here to start training for your telehealth adventure


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