Improving a Child’s Success in a Virtual World
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
By Amanda Peterson, Speech Language Pathologist, Yakos Therapy, Inc.
Due to the current pandemic, speech-language services are being offered in person and/or virtually. Many families and parents are questioning what option is best for their child based on their specific needs, safety, and heath. Among these changes, challenges arise in both platforms and it is important to discuss how both parents and clinicians can help to improve the effectiveness of speech-language services.
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), some challenges that are arising in virtual settings include:
1. Being understood and hearing others clearly.
2. Understanding cues/directions.
3. Distractions within the home setting and technology platform.
4. Limited social interactions/practice.
5. Screen fatigue.
6. Role of parents in therapy while managing various daily tasks.
Tips for improving child’s success in virtual settings:
1. Using headphones/microphone set, asking the child to repeat what they said, typing/drawing/use of gestures when something is unclear.
2. Discussion between parents and clinician about what supports and strategies a child may need.
3. Sitting in a quiet spot with comfortable seating and adequate lighting.
4. Limiting verbal and auditory distractions.
5. Using social stories and encouraging parents to set up social activities (e.g., phone calls, virtual play dates, etc.).
6. Creating a daily schedule with breaks from technology/screen time.
7. Discussing with parents about a time of day that works best to help facilitate sessions.
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), some challenges that are arising in person include:
1. Changes from familiar routines.
2. Mask/face coverings.
3. Mask use by clinicians.
4. Following infection control routines.
5. Use of plexi-glass shields/face shields.
Tips for improving child’s success in person sessions:
1. Preparing the child with use of social stories, visual schedules, and visual supports to discuss expectations.
2. Using a comfortable mask that fits the child.
3. Having the child decorate or personalize the mask.
4. Practice wearing the mask at home for longer periods of time.
5. Parents and family members model wearing a mask with the child.
6. Sharing videos and stories of importance of hand washing and sanitizing.
7. Using songs to time hand washing (sing happy birthday while washing hands).