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Occupational Therapy and Teletherapy ?



Teletherapy is the ability to provide therapy service online, through video conferencing.


Connecting Together had information on this on the previous website. This is still available on www.connecting-together.co.nz


For teletherapy you need a computer or ipad preferably with a webcam, and good internet connection. A webcam is helpful, but I too have had a few clients who their webcam has not worked and they can still see my screen and I can hear them, this has been successful also.


I have had a few families ask about how this could work, as they feel Occupational Therapy is more in person/face to face and hands on. Which, I agree it can be and as a profession I do feel in person sessions are effective, however I have also had many successful online sessions and they have been just as productive for therapy goals.


Screen sharing is amazing and using games online that are safe or self-made from teletherapists increase children`s engagement in the tasks. These games can target social skills, through turn taking, and working as a team. There are so many products, activities, worksheets and more that can be used online for therapy sessions, just as you would in person at a table, however it is on the computer.

Adult supervision is always recommended depending on the age of your child.

But how can we work on fine motor skills?

There are many resources you have in your home that we can use in sessions, such as kitchen tongs, toilet rolls, paper clips, pegs and more. Your Occupational therapist could prepare you before the session to what resources you may need, or I know of many therapists that are sending packs to their clients, or a list of resources needed for sessions. Then online, the therapist has some resources and so does the child in their home, you can then work on activities from a worksheet (screen shared) or follow steps given from a video or the therapist. An example could be using pincer grip or pincher (a fine motor goal) to pull beads out of your putty or playdough. Playdough can be made at home, or together in an online session with your therapist; given the family has the ingredients and is prepared to do this.


Gross Motor?

Still possible! Again, if you prepare your family child and work with the space they have available in their home; you can use online games, youtube videos shared to screen, such as yoga, or stretches etc.

A great motor planning activity I commonly do in face to face sessions, is to provide equipment and allow the child 5 minutes to plan a 3 step obstacle course, and then we do this together, and take turns.

Online, I use PowerPoint and list a range of activities written or visually with photos, such as jump two feet, touch your toes or spin 3x. The child will choose 3, and then create an obstacle course, and I will then follow in my home. This is such fun, easy to prepare and takes up good time for the session. It incorporates gross motor, coordination, and sensory strategies.

Setting up the session ahead of time and sharing this with family either a week early, or at beginning of session helps to reduce anxiety and to know what is expected online. I create a visual schedule and then we work to cross off the activities as we work through them. This can be done in a PDF, using the comment and pen tool.

If you have teletherapy questions or wonder how to it can work for you, check out Simply Speaking SLT who has created teletherapy digital game sand resources, but also has so many great tips and tricks for using what you have to work in sessions online. I have learnt a lot from Simply Speaking SLT. https://simplyspeakingslt.com/


Melissa Walker-Tate

Occupational Therapist

Connecting Together.

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