Kids of all ages seem to love computers. According to an article in The Telegraph, “Children spend twice as long online using computers as their parents think they do”. The article also state that children start using the internet at the average age of three. We can surely say there is there is an interesting relationship between children and computers worth exploring.
Computers are both educational and entertaining. It is one of a few things that can both teach and provide enjoyment at the same time. This seems to occur at an almost unconscious level with kids. Children spend more than 4 hours per day engaged with a computer (cell phones included). As any therapist who work with children would say motivation is the key to making progress and helping kids achieving their goals. Because computers possess this ability to motivate as well as teach they can be used as a tool to build effective therapeutic relationships between therapists and their young clients.
Now, What is tele-therapy? Tele-therapy is the use of telecommunication (internet + modem) and technology (computers) to deliver professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client for intervention, assessment and/or consultation. Tele-therapy was first used by the medical profession during the 1950’s to counsel patients who lived a great distance away about their medical regimen. Since the 1970’s The tele-medical model has been adapted for use in delivering therapeutic and educational services.
Why Speech Tele-therapy
Tele-therapy makes is possible for those hindered by mobility, financial and access difficulties to get help with communication problems. In effect Speech Tele-therapy will bring a therapist right to the door step of anyone with a communication of language difficulty.
How does Teletherapy work?
Tele-therapy requires both clinician and client have: a computer, internet provider, modem, mouse (or touch pad). The clinician will acquire additional equipment such as a document camera, storage drives and various types of interactive media (including a white board). Prior to having a speech or language sessions an agreement is signed and agreed upon by clinician and client. The client can be a parent, school, center of hospital. Next a careful review of client medical, education and social histories in performed and a treatment plan in created.
During a typical session the clinician will use a virtual meeting software which the client signs onto. Both clinician and student use their computer’s webcam to interact verbally. In the virtual meeting room clinician will use a white board along with various media to engage and help the client improve. Media include virtual manipulative, graphic organizers, PDF files, stories and videos.
In summary, I would say that Tele-therapy is still a new avenue in which to provide help for those with communication difficulties. It makes very effective use of computers as means to motivate and essentially correct communication difficulties.
In my experience Speech tele-therapy had been very effective with kids. Children engage with a higher level of cooperation and will participate for longer periods. They often do not want the session to end. Although kids are working to correct challenging problems they are engage with the materials and enjoy the nature of the presentation.
Ultimately Tele-therapy makes use of a stimulating and engaging medium (computers) and when clients are motivated they are more likely to meet their goals and experience genuine and long-lasting results!