Category Archives: Teletherapy

Virtual Online Telehealth

How Do Paediatric Occupational Therapists Partner With Parents?

Usually, when people think about paediatric Occupational Therapy, the first thing that comes to mind is dropping your child off to see an OT who will do 1:1 treatment with them.  Sometimes parents aren’t present which means that they may not fully understand what the OT is working on with their child, and more importantly, don’t know how to support their child in their daily lives.  

How do OT’s help parents support their kids? 

At ot4kids, we have always valued working closely with parents in these ways:

  • Parents or caregivers are present throughout our sessions
  • We have regular parent-ONLY coaching sessions (similar to a teacher-parent conference but not rushed and more often) to review how things are going at home, identify areas of continued concern, understand rationale behind certain ‘behaviours’ and why certain sensory tools are effective and how to use them.  
  • Some parents do only parent consultations where they learn about sensory processing and motor skills, learn simple strategies to do with their child, and review in their OT consultations
  • Sometimes even grandparents and nannies have joined coaching and / or treatment sessions which has been so fantastic

What do parents think of 1:1 coaching sessions with their OT? 

Parents often find these consultation meetings to be the most helpful to them in understanding their child’s needs, and parenting their kids in a way that supports them developmentally and emotionally versus using traditional parenting techniques.  

How do parent coaching sessions / consultations help us (OT’s) help you? 

As an OT, I find the parent consultations really effective as:

1) parents know their child best so their input and feedback are great clues into figuring out effective ways to help their child

2) it’s important to know how the child fares in their daily lives as we want them to develop skills beyond the clinic and into their ‘real’ environments for the best impact

The aim of parent consultations / coaching

Our aim is to help reduce the overwhelm that parents can feel, and to help you find simple and effective ways in helping nurture your kids.  

My message to parents is that you know your child best, follow your gut instinct, and know that we can help you to be confident in helping your child to be coordinated, calm, and connected.  

Sign up here to learn more about parent coaching / consultation sessions. http://www.ot4kids.co.uk/occupational-therapy/parent-group-coaching-sessions

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How is Teletherapy and Working Closely with Parents Helping Kids? 

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Can you believe we have been doing Teletherapy and parent consultations for three months now?

Oftentimes, people think that OT has to be done 1:1 with an OT to help their child (and don’t get me wrong, direct treatment is really important and helpful).  Thanks to COVID-19, it has been absolutely amazing to see both parents and kids thriving.  Kids are calmer and building relationships, developing their motor skills, and problem-solving during play.   Parents are understanding their child’s ‘signs’ and needs, and as a result, figuring out what to do coming up with great strategies to support their kids.  

It has been a highlight building relationships, joining forces with parents, and having an impact in the kids’ natural environments. 

How do Occupational Therapists do Teletherapy?

Teletherapy sessions have taken a combination of two forms: 

  1. Directly working with the child via the parent 
  2. Indirectly by meeting only the parent and reviewing videos of child between sessions

What lessons have we learned (i.e. benefits gained) from teletherapy during COVID-19? 

Less is more

Kids have made great progress with what they have at home.  

Parents have been nicely surprised how much we are able to do with what they have at home, and as a result, they are more able to incorporate sensory strategies or motor activities into their days.  In many ways, I have found that children have made even more progress during their intensive blocks as we are so much more focused on certain areas and we use what they have.  

Empowering parents

For me, I have loved building relationships with the parents, and tag teaming with them to support their families and kids.  I feel that this has also been key to the progress we have made in sessions, and the support the parents feel that they are receiving.  Parents are empowered knowing that they can help their kids using their own hands and ideas.  

Learn by doing

I learn by doing things myself. 

These parent consultations and virtual sessions have enabled parents to ‘do’ with their kids themselves, and become confident in their own abilities to support their child.  Being mum to my 8-year old, I know how important this is.  

New future plans? YES!

So far, many families want to continue in this way to some capacity, and I’m fore-seeing positive changes going forwards in how we provide OT via supporting parents, whether it be directly, indirectly, through trainings and coaching, or a combination.  

Get in touch to discuss how tele-therapy can help your child.   

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Sensory Chalk Walk Obstacle Courses

Lockdown has finally given us the impetus to create some Chalk Walk Obstacle Courses for our neighbourhood.  (See video examples below.)  I’ve always wanted to make these, and now that we have started, my son loves making them too.  

People often think these chalk walks are difficult to make, however they’re so fun and you can involve your kids in making them too.  We have now made a bunch of these during the past couple of months, including for younger and older children.  

We have done very simple ones by going down our street drawing designated areas for ‘dancing,’ being ‘goofy,’  doing ‘silly walks,’ and drawing Hop Scotch grids which even the older people on our street have loved doing.  

How chalk obstacle courses develop sensory processing and motor skills: 

  • FUN while social distancing!
  • gross motor skills
  • body and spatial awareness
  • balance and coordination
  • motor planning skills to create, plan and execute 
  • fine and visual motor control 
  • organisational skills
  • emotional regulation 

TOP TIP:  Check the weather before you draw out your chalk course.  We learned the hard way as it sadly rained the day after we made ours a couple of times. 

How to create and arrange a chalk walk obstacle course, keeping your child in mind: 

  1. Start with a more intense, heavy work component such as jumping or doing press-ups
  2. Next, do a balance and / or challenge task such as walking along a wavy line or jumping and turning
  3. Have a high energy component (running on the spot for a minute, running for the home stretch)
  4. a mindful calming section (e.g. blow out the candles, sniff the flowers, sing a song, or unscramble letters to words, or say affirmations).   

Although do just have fun, follow your child’s lead and get them involved in creating these.    

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Chalk Walk Obstacle Course Examples: 

Here are several examples that my son and I have done for our neighbourhood.  Do share your ideas.  We’d love to see them. 

 

Shop Local – Occupational Therapists in Southfields

 

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The Southfields Grid Association has put out this list of local businesses to particularly support during these times.  I’m so grateful to them for including ot4kids on there, and for living where we do. 

My husband and I moved to Southfields 9 years ago when I was pregnant with my son.  I needed a work balance shift as I developed Hyperemesis and couldn’t travel anymore so my husband had this great idea of building a ‘house practice’ with a clinic where families could come to me in a cozy environment.  At the same time I wanted more time with the baby as he’d grow up.

 This was the beginning stages of two babies, my clinic and my child. 

We passed by Southfields when Riverford, our local veg box scheme, had offered a free dinner nearby.  It was soooo delicious.  We were immediately drawn to the ‘village’ because of its quaint family feel, small independent shops, and ease of reaching the city centre.  I never heard of Southfields before this.  For those who know me, you know my heart is in my stomach so this sequence of events is not at all surprising.  🙂

As we have our own independent practices, we have always tried to support local businesses which in return means supporting local families, our community, and more jobs.

I always recommend local cafes and shops to families who come to see me.  We have so many great places nearby including:  Chanteroy, the french deli for amazing sandwiches on freshly baked baguettes, Salt and Pepper for super friendly company and local grown homey food (we love their tapas), our local fruit and veg shop, Chalk for cards and stationary, Drop Shot for coffee, De Rosier for hot chocolate and deserts, Thai restaurants, optometrists, a physiotherapist, an osteopath, and so much more.  

To support locally, check out their listing here

Click here to follow ot4kids’ blog. 

 

Teletherapy Paediatric Occupational Therapy

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We have now been in lockdown for about three weeks.  Like many families, mine is also finding a new routine.  My 8-year old son and I have been doing ‘PE with Joe’ every weekday, trampolining in the garden, drawing sensory chalk walks outside, and crafting.  It has been lovely spending time together and having time to do things we ordinarily wouldn’t.  This slower pace of life is growing on us.

I’ve now been doing teletherapy, virtual Occupational Therapy sessions, with local families for a few weeks.  The OT community worldwide has been brilliant.  Thanks to technology, we have had many Zoom Catch-ups to share ideas, learn from and support each other. 

I work with amazing families and it has been great to see how well Teletherapy has been working for all of us. 

Families have said that the sessions are different to 1:1 clinic sessions, yet they are valuable and they like using what they already have at home in new and creative ways. 

Parents also feel good that they are the ones doing the handling, modifications, and putting the session into action, and the online sessions have ensured we keep progressing. 

Some families were hesitant to give teletherapy a go as they weren’t sure if it would be effective, however they’ve also been surprized how well their children have adapted to the new way of OT and are enjoying a new routine.  It’s been helpful to see family’s home space, come up with sensory strategies and obstacle courses using what’s at home, and more easily address skills that happen at home. 

For children who need preparation, this social story has been helpful and can be adapted.  

Overall, during these unpredictable and unsettling times, it has been so heart-warming to be connected with the children and their families.  I’ve finally been able to ‘meet’ their siblings and pets which is definitely a fun bonus.  It’s also been exciting to have another way of delivering therapy and partnering closely with parents, whilst providing an effective and valuable service. 

I bet that teletherapyteletherapy will be opening many doors down the road for working with families and team members. 

Teletherapy / Telehealth OT Sessions

 
 
I have been providing Telehealth Occupational Therapy sessions for families from abroad for a while.  However, due to the implications of Coronavirus, ot4kids is moving over to provide increased Telehealth (virtual) sessions.  I hope that this post will answer some questions regarding TeleTherapy and OT for your child. 
 

What is Telehealth or Teletherapy?  

 
The Occupational Therapist will guide the parent and child through their session ‘live’ in cyber space.  E.g. Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts. As such, the parent or caregiver must be available throughout the session time. 

What to expect from a tele therapy virtual OT session

Telehealth sessions will differ from actual sessions with your OT, however, it will be valuable. 
 
The parent or adult must be present to support the child throughout the session. 
 

Before your teletherapy Occupational Therapy session:

Your OT will confirm details regarding which platform to use to connect, a plan of activities and goals for the session, share any necessary handouts, and advise on where to conduct the session as well as what toys and supplies to keep ready.  

During the teletherapy Occupational Therapy session: 

  • your OT will catch up with you and your child, review progress and goals
  • parents may request support regarding specific skills that take place at home (e.g. dressing, eating, organisation of the room, toys or games, setup and size of furniture).  
  • The OT will demonstrate and explain the activity, guide the parent or caregiver on how to set up and implement the activities for the session, listen and observe how the activity is completed by the child, and basically, work through the parent to support the child.  
  • The OT will likely ask the parent questions, problem-solve, demonstrate or explain how to change or modify an activity, and provide guidance and feedback as needed. 

At the end of the teletherapy OT session:

The parent and OT will provide feedback of the session, discuss strategies and hom
ework to incorporate into daily routines at home, and make a plan for the following session.  

Pros of telehealth OT sessions

-Convenience of having OT at home, anywhere in the world
-Helpful to get ‘real-time’ support to tackle what matters the most to families in their home
-Good to use the child’s own toys and resources
-Parents get to learn how to implement activities and support child’s needs by actually implementing the session.  As such, it allows more opportunities for carryover on a daily basis. 
 
For families whom tele therapy is not an option, we are offering video consultations with parent coaching /consultations, home programming, and follow-up support and check-ins accordingly.
 
For new children, although we aren’t able to complete a full assessment with testing, we are providing screenings where we can observe how the child does on specific tasks, parent consultation, and basing tele therapy sessions from there.  
 
Despite this difficult situation, we are so fortunate to have technology on our side.  Please speak with myself or your therapist so we can figure out how best to keep supporting your child.