It is a novel idea – having an online therapist, we understand. We, at AIMS Global have worked virtually for many years, offering quality supervision from a distance to our clients all over the world. I do believe that the change of employing more virtual or online therapists is inevitable and of course exciting in many regards. Let’s discuss some of the benefits…
Some benefits of online therapy:
- It’s affordable! Unlike paying three different therapists per day to do hourly-rate sessions with your child (in many cases), online therapists are charged by the month and prices should be lower than going to a therapist.
- You can generalize skills immediately – if you have an online therapist you will most probably need a “therapy partner” at home who can guide your child through the session. This is an excellent way to pick up strategies from the online therapist to the home environment and ensure generalization (which usually takes a bit of time) almost instantly!
- You don’t have to drive to various therapists, sitting in traffic, going to crowded spaces, etc. Most of our families are doing an exceptional job in driving from one place to another to include all the different therapies and activities. Imagine doing therapy online and then having time to enjoy your mornings or afternoons relaxing or going on an outing with no expectations placed on you or your child…
Great, but how does online therapy actually work?
I also understand that parents are busy and if you are (or have to) work from home, you rarely have time to be a “therapy partner” for hours. I want to assure you that the end-goal of any good online program is for your child to work independently (as much as he or she can) and for you to have a break (or time for your work or being with your other children). I can only write about our process, which I believe is a great guide for any successful online program.
- We require your child’s latest reports and any other information that you feel is important together with some videos of how he/she communicates, plays, reacts in various environments, etc. It’s important that any organization or therapist requests this type of information as it’s crucial to always try and make the best possible fit of a therapist’s experience and passion with your child’s personality, needs and strengths.
- You, as the parent, receive a shortlist of candidates who you can choose from to interview and get to know, before you make the decision of who you want to work with as your child’s therapist. It’s important too that you feel empowered by the organization and are able to make these decisions together. You ultimately know your child best!
- Once you have chosen your therapist, you start therapy – how easy is that? The first week is an important time for your therapist to get to know your child and will entail more observations, where you can do fun activities and the therapist will use Zoom or Skype to do a video call. Once your child and the therapist have established a positive rapport, we include daily lesson plans that include the concepts (from the Individual Educational Plan that is created within the first week) into fun and interactive activities.
- Your role as the “therapy partner” will be to guide your child to engage in the activities, but we have you covered! We send through “starter packs” to help set up strategies that will ensure you are successful, whilst having a lot of fun.
- Typically, within the first 10 days, our children are willing and perfectly able to do sessions almost independently with their therapist online and will only need assistance here and there with loading of videos or imitating dance moves 😉
You receive feedback, video observations notes from your supervisors, ongoing reports and plenty more. A good online program will make you feel in control of your child’s program and progress. It will take you along the journey of supporting your child in a fun and functional manner.
Let me know if you want to discuss online therapy in more detail. I am more than happy to chat over a Skype or Zoom call: [email protected]
In my next blog (in a few days) I will discuss some more guidelines to effectively generalize strategies from your online therapist to the home environment.
As always, stay healthy and happy 🙂