Teletherapy is exhausting. Many occupational therapists have had to take their in person sessions and change them to online sessions. There are many challenges that occupational therapy face during teletherapy. Teletherapy has been a big adjustment but it doesn’t have to be hard. I have quite a few tips and tricks I have been using to keep my students engaged, motivated and feeling empowered!
Here are my top tips to make it easier….
- Have some activities that can be done without additional supplies or printing. Kids may not be able to print and may not have supplies to use that are readily available. I have designed 18 weeks of occupational therapy teletherapy sessions for kindergarten through sixth graders or students who are this level. For elementary, this includes a check in (how are you), movement warm up, handwriting practice including fix the letter size/spacing, visual perceptual scanning activity and a writing / drawing activity. For preschool, this includes a check in (how are you?), movement warm up, prewriting line /shape, activity, and drawing activity. This includes NO PRINT (students complete on their own paper) and PRINT VERSIONS! Therapists have stated they love these for both in person and online therapy! Check out weeks 1 – 18 here!
- Speaking of activities- use Boom Cards. Boom Cards are no print activities that require no extra supplies. You can pull up a fast play link to screen share during your session. Students can then manipulate boom cards, and you can take data. If you have a paid account, Boom Cards are also great for sending home activities that will automatically data track (YAY, LESS PAPERWORK!). Check out my Boom Card Decks here!
- Use a virtual background. I use a virtual background for warm ups, schedules and more during my occupational therapy teletherapy sessions.You do not need a green screen to use a virtual background.You just need this as a virtual background on Zoom.Virtual backgrounds allow you to be interactive such as popping balloons to reveal movement activities, have students “knock on a door” to reveal yoga poses or even showing students how to do directed drawings. Here is a video example of how I use a virtual background. Get your free, interactive virtual background by signing up for my email list.
- Screen share, have students annotate and use remote control. Make sure you know how to screen share. Screen sharing is a great way to show students the activity or website. Make sure your students know how to annotate. Annotating is allowing a student to draw on your screen. This is great for coloring in pages, writing words or circling choices. The other great thing is to use a remote control feature on Zoom. The remote-control feature allows student to control your mouse. I use this to allow students to drag and drop pictures in slide decks or click on items in Boom Cards. You may need to walk through how to annotate or use remote control and it may be through a system that you don’t know (ie: Mac or PC). I always look at YouTube videos or articles, so I know how to explain this to students.
- Have a backup plan ready. Sometimes things do not go right. Students may not be interested in your activity or technology may not cooperate. I always have a back up plan for both technology and for activities. If a student’s internet is not working, calling on a cell phone is always a back up. If a student is not interested in activities, I have a few that are quickly available to me. I have bookmarked some of my favorite movement videos on Go Noodle. I also have a folder on my desktop that has some of my favorite activities that are easy to screen share including picture writing prompts, minute to win it visual scanning activities and screen share activities such as Which do you like more game or movement cards.
- Send home simple activities that are pre-prepped and include simple materials. Students can lose materials, so I find it is always good to have an activity with minimal materials. I have made the prep easy for you and have a resource that includes 16 activities. (7 need ONLY printed sheets, no extra materials). This includes 9 activities that need minimal supplies (hole puncher, playdough, beads, coins, clothespins, tweezers, pom poms, crayons, small stickers, small container). For each activity, you can tape the directions into a zip lock bag and put materials inside of the bag. This also includes a sample schedule. This includes activities such as coloring, hole punch activity, penny slides, penny flips, cutting shapes/lines, finger play cards, movement cards AND MORE!Check out the activity here! This may not apply to all situations, if you do not have student material pick up days.
- Have fun!
What tip is most helpful to you? Do you have any tips that I did not share? Is there something you want more information about? Please reach out, I always look forward to hearing from you!
Until next time, friends!