This week, we brought in one of our favorite teletherapists to share some tips on integrating the old with the new. Join The Whimsical Word in these applicable suggestions to make teletherapy a little more familiar. (And don't forget to check out her great TPT resources!)
*If you like the resources Andee shares in this blog, make sure to check out our Instagram pages to enter for your chance to win $100 worth of resources from her TpT store!
Let it be said, that the minute you decide to provide speech therapy online, a wave of panic ensues.
I’ve been there. You’ve been there. Or, perhaps, you are still there. Your kidney bean-shaped table is gone, and now, you are staring at a blue screen, a headset, and a webcam.
“Oh boy”, you might say to yourself.
Finding materials for virtual speech therapy can be challenging. Your old “go to” items, like crafts, flashcards and blackline workbooks were your gold standards. So, now what? HOW do you go about finding materials that will target the skills your client needs, plus keep them engaged, so that they have FUN while they learn?
I’m here to tell you it’s a lot easier than you think. But, it requires you to think a bit outside the box. Let me help you by sharing some of the amazing teletherapy resources I have found that mimic table top therapy.
Miss your flashcards?
So did I. Until I found BOOM Cards™. If you haven’t heard of Boom Cards, think task cards on steroids. They are digital flashcards, that are self-grading, self-paced and interactive. Some have drag & drop features, that work much like an app. Boom Learning™ gives you a FREE account with the download of a free card deck, or a paid deck. Flashcard decks live in “the cloud” on Boom Learning, so all you need is a free account that houses your decks when you want them. Simply log in to the website, screen share, and give your client control (if you wish for them to select their answers independently). It’s that simple. Click here to view the card decks I have created for my own clients, or click here to go to Boom Learning and create your own!
Miss coloring activities?
My students in brick and mortar used to love coloring. I have found 2 sites that I love to use virtually, to give my students a “brain break” or to motivate them to reach a goal. Crayola™ has an online “playzone” where my students can color with tools right on the screen. I also love Coloring-Online hosted by Owlie Boo. Perfect for those little ones who are learning how to point and click!
Miss doing crafts with students?
I will be honest. I was never a “crafty” SLP. But many of us do themed therapy throughout the school year, and crafts are a big part of themed therapy. A simple way to replace crafting is finding a “Make A….” type activities. For this, I love ABCya! They have make a pizza, make a cupcake, make a race-car…. You name it! Several activities where students can “build” things using their mouse and creative mind. I also love Toy Theater! They have an art section, where students can draw, add stickers, and build things to make beautiful pieces of art! The beauty of teletherapy is that we can also show how-to videos for crafts! We can search for videos on how to make slime, build a robot, or whatever else fits your theme! Just remember to do a “safe search” through a filter, or mirror your iPad using YouTube kids. Always preview the videos first as a rule!
Miss board games?
I am the board game queen. I love being able to give students a chance to have FUN during our sessions. I use open-ended board games daily in therapy! If your platform allows you to draw, or make shapes, simply use those shapes as game pieces. Add a dice app on your phone, or use one you have handy. I have a growing bundle of year-round board games, or finding games online is so easy! You can also learn how to create game pieces for online use by taking this FREE course by Tracy Sippl. I love using Memozor for memory games, or even National Geographic kids! Bookmark these great sites and organize them into folders and you will be ready for anything that comes your way.
You should also know that many of your favorite “workbooks” (remember you’d stand in line at the copier for hours?) are NOW available in an e-reader format. Linguisystems offers their most popular books on a cloud system after purchase. Here’s a tip…. If you’d like your student to be able to annotate and type on pages, but the download is too large to display properly on your platform, simply save smaller sections of the workbook as a pdf! You can do this by pretending to “print” pages. Rather than print, select the “save as a pdf” on the print screen. Make sure you select the page range you want before you save! I have a lot of my favorite workbooks as digital versions. I save the smaller chapters or sections on my flash-drive to be uploaded when I need them!
Pinterest + Teletherapy?
Here’s another tip that involves thinking outside the box. It seems a bit odd, but I highly recommend using Pinterest for session planning.
Pinterest is NO different than Google. I wrote a blog post on how I use this amazing search engine to my benefit. When I started teletherapy 3 years ago, there wasn’t a lot of applicable content on Pinterest.
I have created boards dedicated ONLY to platform-friendly activities and videos that I can use at a moment's notice when I need to plan a fresh session. Resist the temptation to add every cute scissor and glue activity. You aren’t going to need it. I have carefully collected pins that I undoubtedly can use on my platform. If you’d like to see how I have set them up, click here. EVERY pin on my boards links to something I can purchase, bookmark, or download to use on my platform now.
When I get a new student and think, “I don’t have ANYTHING to target that goal," I remember, "oh YES! YES I do." I bop over to Pinterest, search my Motivating Middle School board, and find links to products or videos that I had pinned months before. Planning, complete.
You can be very successful at finding resources when you open your mind to all the unique possibilities. Providing online services forces us to be creative in a new way. Our creative genius may not involve scissors, glue or sensory bins. But the wide world of the internet is almost limitless.
And, if you need something out there that isn’t yet available, why not create it yourself? The tools are out there!