Many therapists are becoming more interested in telemedicine, given the current circumstances of our healthcare system. How do you know where to begin when researching teletherapy platforms? Today, we’re discussing various telehealth options for occupational therapy.
To get you started with actual activities that you can apply to virtual OT sessions, here are teletherapy activities to help you get started with virtual occupational therapy services.
Some existing companies are looking to incorporate the use of telemedicine into their business by converting current clients to teletherapy services. On the other hand, there are teletherapy platforms that provide solely virtual care to their patients.
While other healthcare disciplines, such as nursing and medicine, are more widespread in the telehealth realm, occupational therapists are a growing presence in this up-and-coming practice area.
Speech therapists were perhaps some of the first therapists to enter the world of pediatric teletherapy, perhaps due to the nature of much of their treatment. Unsurprisingly, many of the teletherapy roles for occupational therapists are within school-based therapy settings for similar reasons. These platforms can easily address fine motor skills, developmental milestones, emotion management, behavior modification, executive functioning, sensory regulation strategies, and more.
For those therapists who are interested in providing occupational therapy for a teletherapy platform, there are a variety of platforms available. The following companies offer technology to serve virtual medicine:
Global Teletherapy– As a school-based teletherapy platform that provides care from disciplines such as OT, SLP, LPC, LMHC, and SW, Global Teletherapy is a prominent provider in the telemedicine realm. As an established platform, Global Teletherapy helps therapists gain clinical experience in this arena while providing resources to parents of children who receive teletherapy.
Presence Learning– Presence Learning provides speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, early childhood services, special education, and psychoeducational assessments to children within the school system. This platform provides individualized consultations with schools to determine their suitability for teletherapy services. Many therapists may be familiar with the idea of needs assessments, which Presence Learning completes to ensure best fit for all of the children they serve.
eLuma– This company provides online speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, special education, and mental health counseling from licensed therapists and counselors. Not only has this company been providing therapy services to schools who are in need of online therapy and mental health services, but eLuma also provides ample resources to therapists transitioning into teletherapy. Through blogs, webinars, and online publications, therapists and other professionals can learn more about how to provide effective teletherapy services while facilitating progress in the children they treat.
TinyEYE– TinyEYE has been providing school- and home-based teletherapy services for children since 2005. Not only is this teletherapy platform consistently growing, but they are committed to providing focused care by providing occupational therapy and speech therapy services to the clients they serve. TinyEYE also provides therapists with treatment ideas, free activities, a wide range of technology-based exercises to use with children to address various concerns during any treatment.
DotCom Therapy– DotCom Therapy employs a diverse range of school-based professionals, including audiologists, mental health counselors, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists. With a comprehensive range of services, DotCom Therapy is able to provide extensive IEPs with continual reviews, personalized needs assessments, staff training for school professionals, and ongoing team meetings and parent conferences.
Other Telehealth Platforms
Zoom for Healthcare– In the recent changes to public health and therapeutic service delivery, finding a quick and compliant means of connecting with clients is needed. Zoom for Healthcare is one such platform ahta is easy to set up and get moving with. The video conferencing platform is HIPPA compliant and offers resources to help with setting up virtual communications.
Google Classrooms– With this online classroom platform, therapists are able to connect with and engage with students in a virtual setting. A group classroom setting may not be appropriate for confidentiality reasons, as classmates and parents can view others in a group video setting or in the comments section. However, therapists may choose to use the technology to set up individual classrooms for each student they serve as a way to deliver documents, files, and recommended home programs.
Teletherapy Staffing Companies
Some therapists may be familiar with staffing agencies, which are poised to connect therapists of many disciplines with therapy positions. Sunbelt Staffing and ProCare Therapy are unique in that they recruit therapists for contracted (short-term) or permanent (long-term) teletherapy roles within school systems across the country. Some of these roles are part-time and some are full-time, but each position allows physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and speech-language pathologists the opportunity to build connections in valuable technology-based roles in a range of locations.
Occupational therapy and teletherapy
Amazon affiliate links are included below.
For occupational therapists who are interested in making a difference in the world of teletherapy, there are many options for them to consider. For the time being, occupational therapy is still a relatively new discipline within this type of platform, but that can easily change as more parents, families, schools, and communities see the benefit of online occupational therapy services.
This service initially developed to provide essential care for individuals who are in rural areas and cannot access standard, in-person treatment. However, virtual occupational therapy can increase the skills, quality of life, and occupational performance of children in areas with a shortage of therapists, time constraints, or concerns related to recent public health issues.
With the rise of telemedicine, the concept of teletherapy may be difficult for some children to grasp, especially those living with disabilities and those who are accustomed to traditional school-based therapy or outpatient rehab. Thankfully, there are resources available to guide children through this process and learn skills that make them stronger and more confident.
Why is there a person in my computer? is a child’s guide to understanding what teletherapy is and how it can help with a variety of medical concerns. This story follows Andrew, a child with visual deficits who is having difficulty playing hockey, performing well in school, and working on his art. He meets a therapist named Brittany who guides him through his first teletherapy session, and he loves it! This picture book helps children understand what teletherapy is, what makes it different from other therapies, and how it can help them live better lives. Children may also enjoy the supplemental activity guide complete with coloring pages, fact sheets, and more!
This blog post was written by Brittany Ferri. Brittany is an occupational therapist, author, and teletherapy professional. She is passionate about education, health promotion, and disease prevention for all. Brittany currently practices in community-based teletherapy for two platforms, one that serves pediatrics (geared toward mental health diagnoses and developmental delays) and one that serves adults. For more information, visit her company’s website at www.simplicityofhealth.com