Virtual Therapy Tips for Parents

Send these tips for parents who have children in virtual therapy for online occupational therapy sessions.

With therapy sessions now moved to online settings, and children receiving virtual therapy as their source for occupational therapy intervention, you may be wondering HOW to help your child thrive in virtual therapy sessions. With many parents experiencing their first encounter with online therapy, I wanted to put together tips that you can pass on to parents to allow their child to succeed in online therapy sessions. Here are common teletherapy activities that can serve as a starting point. Remember that occupational teletherapy is a virtual version of face-to-face occupational therapy sessions.

Send these tips for parents who have children in virtual therapy for online occupational therapy sessions.

Virtual Therapy Tips for Parents

Let your therapist know what you need and where your child is struggling- The family and parents are part of the “team” with the child being the center of that relationship. Parents are often times the voice for the child to communicate needs or frustrations of the child. With new realities as a result of public health issues, kids can struggle in unprecedented ways. Be sure to communicate any new changes with your child’s therapist.

Gather any needed materials- Consult with the therapist prior to the virtual session by email or text to find out what materials you should have ready for the session.

Prepare your child for teletherapy sessions- Add a computer “appointment” to your child’s written or visual schedule. Let them know in advance (at the appropriate level of understanding of your child).

Prepare the area- Set up a specific location for teletherapy sessions to occur. Have headphones or a headset there and ready for your teletherapy session.

Log on and check internet connection a few minutes before your scheduled time- Realize that your child’s therapist likely has between 6-14 virtual therapy sessions scheduled each day. They are striving to meet the needs of your kiddo right along with all of the other kiddos on their caseload. Being on time provides the best service for your child and is considerate of the therapist’s hefty schedule.

Try a trial run- Consider setting up a trial run with use of the headphones and a video conference call with a grandparent or friend to practice speaking into the headphones or computer microphone. Try the headphone volume at this time, too. This is a good time to test the lighting in the room, and placement of the computer’s camera.

Prepare the household- Let siblings or others in the home know that the teletherapy appointment is scheduled. This is a time for the child to interact with their therapist. Try to reduce background distractions if possible. Put pets and distracting toys away during the teletherapy session.

Consult with the therapist regarding being an “e-helper”- Some activities and interventions may require the use of an adult to act as an e-helper. This is especially true for younger children or during hands-on tasks. Here is more information on understanding teletherapy and e-helpers.

Virtual therapy tips for parents who have children in occupational therapy teletherapy services for the first time.

What would you add to this list? Do you have any suggestions for parents who have children receiving occupational therapy teletherapy for the first time?

Teletherapy Games and Worksheets

Use these occupational therapy games and worksheets in teletherapy

Teletherapy can seem overly complicated to some therapists. The truth is, once you get the hang of the platform that you will be using, therapy sessions can look a whole lot like traditional therapy sessions. Therapists have quite a bit of variety as to the specific teletherapy activities they use with their kiddos, and can even be creative when coming up with other ways to aid progress. There are a range of teletherapy games and worksheets that are available for use in occupational therapy teletherapy sessions.

Use these occupational therapy games and worksheets in teletherapy

When it comes to virtual therapy sessions, understanding how teletherapy works may be the first hurdle for occupational therapists to overcome.

Here are just a few examples:

Websites that offer teletherapy games and online worksheets for OT virtual sessions

There are many online games out there that can be used in teletherapy sessions. Kids love these interactive games and activities, so they can be incorporated right into therapy sessions to work on visual perceptual skills, visual motor skills, coordination, handwriting, typing, executive functioning skills, and more.

Or, use these online game websites as a reward activity while actually helping kids build skills.

These teletherapy games can be added to Google classroom or other online therapy platforms , or emailed to parents for activity ideas.

www.eyecanlearn.com

www.highlightskids.com

I have MANY more online games that build skills listed in the downloadable virtual games list below. You can add this to your teletherapy toolbox!

Mazes in teletherapy games

Maze activities are an excellent way to work on spatial awareness, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, bilateral integration, problem solving skills, and more. Here are more specific ways to work on fine motor skills in teletherapy sessions. During teletherapy sessions, children can go “old school” and use a printed maze on a piece of paper with a pen or pencil to develop these skills.

However, some therapists may opt to use digital mazes to incorporate finger isolation and more defined visual skills such as tracking and scanning. Many therapists find that additional variations within mazes (such as hiding a math problem, or a picture to color) at the end of the maze allow them to further address areas of concern for a child, while making the activity fun and motivating.

Puzzles in Occupational therapy teletherapy

As one of the most versatile activities known to therapists, puzzles can easily be graded up or down to accommodate children of all ages, developmental abilities, and needs. Children may use downloadable strategy-based puzzles that can be completed right on their computers, or standard print-and-complete activities.

These activities can work on developing visual skills such as perception and recognition, visual memory, spatial awareness, and hand-eye coordination, along with fine motor skills and activity tolerance.

Handwriting in OT teletherapy

Handwriting can be addressed in a variety of unique ways through teletherapy sessions. Therapists may opt to have children use digital features of their teletherapy platform in order to enhance skills such as finger isolation, visual acuity, and tolerance for tasks that may cause visual fatigue (along with practicing taking breaks and chunking the activity as needed).

Therapists can use in-person manipulatives such as playdoh, pom poms, tongs, shaving cream, sand, magnetic letters for tracing, wikki stix, theraputty, theraband, and finger spacers to complete handwriting activities that work on spacing, placement, force modulation, formation, hand fatigue, grasp pattern, and more.

Household items to use in Teletherapy Handwriting Activities

One of my personal favorite handwriting activities that I believe works very well via teletherapy is a “toolkit” of sorts to address appropriate amounts of pressure when writing. Children can use a variety of household materials, such as foil, wax paper, wrapping paper, bubble wrap, toilet paper, and cardstock, to practice using the right amount of pressure with their pencil to elicit the letters they need to write.

You can even turn this into a scavenger hunt where children find these items (with some help from mom, dad, or a family member who conveniently hid them around the workspace in their computer room!).

These teletherapy games can be used in occupational therapy sessions in online therapy.

Helping Kids Understand Teletherapy Games

With just a little creativity (or some searching on the OT Toolbox or Pinterest), therapists can make a teletherapy session both beneficial and fun for the children they are working with. There may be some additional planning on behalf of parents and family members to help things run smoothly, but teletherapy can be an incredibly rewarding experience for children, families, and therapists.

However, children who have previously received occupational therapy services in a face-to-face setting may feel uneasy completing tasks virtually. Here is a fun book to help explain why they are now working on these activities and skills with their therapist through a computer screen.

Occupational therapists use worksheets in teletherapy sessions to work on visual motor skills and visual skills like scanning and perception.

Affiliate links are included below.

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!

Free List of Online Virtual Games for Therapy

Need to add virtual games, online mazes, and puzzles to your teletherapy toolbox? Access this free downloadable list so you can click and go to games that help kids develop and build skills.

List of Teletherapy Games

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

    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