5 Teletherapy Resources That Don't Require Mouse Control
Let me guess. You've started teletherapy, and to build your toolbox, you bought ALLLL the cool, exciting, interactive resources. Boom Cards, interactive pdfs, interactive Power Points. You've practiced with these resources, and are READY for that first day on camera. Awesome job, super SLP!
But, wait. Your students are using iPads and school-issued Chromebooks. Why can't they move the pieces, and ding the buttons? Why can't they take the mouse from me and engage with the screen?
You didn't realize that many of these devices don't allow for students to properly gain control of your mouse (and the screen), so they can actively engage with the content you are providing. They can't drag and drop, they can't "click" or select, and they can't move game pieces around a board. Enter the audible sigh.
I've been there. Right HERE.
However, I'm here to tell you that all is not lost! There are several resources that you can use with students to provide effective, evidence-based therapy that STILL engages them. Now, I'm not saying it still won't be challenging, but you CAN do it.
Here are my top 5 resources to use when students are not able to engage with interactive content I want to use for therapy.
#1 Static Resources
I personally love static resources, and still create them, for this very reason. Chromebooks and iPads. These resources are considered "static" because they don't provide immediate feedback to students in the way of sounds or motion. They are still colorful and engaging, but you present them more like a "slide". Static resources are so valuable in my opinion because they utilize more of a "blended" approach to therapy. You blend tech, with structured teaching, without the interference of may seem like game play to some kids. Research has actually shown that a blended approach to learning has the best outcomes. What's not to love about that! If you are looking to add some static resources to your toolbox, click here for ideas!
#2 Toys and Real Objects
Get yourself a separate webcam, and get ready to use REAL objects and toys in therapy. Yep. You CAN do this. The smaller children really love this. Set up your webcam so that it points towards the table or desk in front of you. Sort mini erasers by category, role play social language with figures, put objects in that Amazon box and give hints for kids to make inferences! Do a cooking lesson from your kitchen, or a craft project where students have to retell the steps. The stage has become limitless to what you can do with real objects.
#3 Videos and Books
If you can still screen share, get a large collection of wordless videos or an online book subscription (getepic.com). Preview all of the pages, and extract what you'll need to elicit everything from articulation words, language targets, and critical thinking. I use books ALL THE TIME in therapy. In fact, sometimes, I use them for an entire day, or week! If you'd like to know how I plan, click here! I created a FREE Google Sheet that I use just for this purpose. You can get MAJOR mileage out of these two kinds of media with the right mindset and planning.
#4 Green Screens
Green screens have been a huge hit since the onset of Covid-19. I personally have never used one, but the buzz and hype are certainly genuine. A green screen will transform your therapy background into a magical wonderland of your choice. You become a bit of an "actor" (think pirate, princess or snowman), and you use props/physical things around you to elicit speech and language. There's a popular Facebook Group dedicated to Green Screens if you are interested in checking it out. Again, there is SO much do do that doesn't require mouse control or interactivity on a student's part with this specific piece of equipment.
#5 Interactive Resources
"Wait....what did Andee just say?". Yes, you heard me. You CAN still use some of those interactive resources. In fact, resources that provide sound and motion are great motivators. ESPECIALLY when your students have to use LANGUAGE to tell you what to do! For example, I love the games on ABC Ya (Make a Cupcake, Build a Snowman, etc.). No, my students can't actually build the objects themselves, but they CAN give me directions on what pieces they want where. I can also sabotage what they tell me, and see if they use language to correct me, give a better direction, add details, or reuse the same articulation word correctly in a sentence. See what I did there? There is nothing more language provoking than making a mistake on purpose, as long as your student understands and can move through this without frustration. So go ahead, and use those Boom Cards. Especially when students need to give oral instructions, verbally explain or retell, or use articulation in carryover. You'll be amazed at how much MORE you get out of students because they simply can't take control of your mouse.
Looking for platform-friendly resources and therapy materials for your iPad? Head on over to my TpT Store! I've been creating resources for almost 5 years now, before Teletherapy was even popular. I'm so proud to be an original provider, so I can give you the best advice out there, based on years of experience. Thanks for reading!