Speech-Language Pathologists all over the country have quickly turned to Telepractice to continue servicing their clients and students in the face of COVID-19.
If you are NEW to the service delivery model, here are 5 essentials that you must consider before getting yourself up and running.
1. Technology matters. In order to provide quality service delivery, it’s imperative that both you and your client have a strong internet connection. Consider having your laptop or desktop hard wired to maximize bandwidth for screen sharing, or placing the computer as close to the modem as possible. Desktops and laptops are preferred over tablets, cellular phones, and Chromebooks, as these devices lose interactivity when materials are screen shared.
2. Facilitation is essential. If your client is school-aged or elderly, it is absolutely imperative that a tech-savvy adult is present to help monitor and assist with the therapy session. It’s important to spend time, prior to beginning services, training this person on how best to support your services. Set clear expectations about availability, positioning, and how to successfully coach your client when needed.
3. Privacy is non-negotiable. Therapists should be aware of federal and state regulations relating to privacy and security, including those pertaining to storage and transmission of client information. See the rules for both HIPAA and FERPA for guidelines, especially when choosing a video platform, and grouping clients together for services. Remember it is your responsibility to obtain documentation of informed consent.
4. Organization is key. Take time to organize your therapy materials ahead of time into folders on your computer. This includes bookmarking your favorite online resources for quick retrieval. Know what exact resources you are going to use before you begin a session, and how to modify them so your client can be successful. If you aren’t sure where to look for resources, professional online communities can be very helpful if you need assistance.
5. Practice is beneficial. Before going on camera, it’s very helpful to practice giving a session to a familiar person, such as another adult, friend, or a child of your own. Take time to learn the features of your platform, as well as how to troubleshoot the technology, prior to giving a live therapy session. The more you practice, the more seamless your session will be.
These 5 tips should help you get started effectively, ethically and successfully. Remember to visit ASHA’s Telepractice Portal for the most up to date information, guidelines, and considerations.
If you need assistance getting started, and want additional support, the following Speech-Language Pathologists have training available to help!
The SLP Solution
The Informed SLP