For many of us who have begun to do teletherapy, it has been hard to wrap our minds around how to do telepractice language therapy and it feels like we are staring across a big gap.
On one side, are all the therapy techniques that have been proven to work either due to our own experience or research needed? On the other side, are all the new technologies needed to get therapy done in a modern world?
And here in lies the problem: Are tried-and-true therapy techniques incompatible with teletherapy? If so, do I need to abandon what I was doing and replace it? If so X2, how long is it going to take me to learn this new strategy because I feel like the world is changing pretty fast while I am moving at a snail’s pace?
While every speech language therapy strategy isn’t going to work for virtual intervention sessions, there is one that has successfully crossed the gap.
Teletherapy Literacy-Based Intervention
Do you know what has changed for speech therapy when we provide it from a virtual location? Pretty much everything.
Do you know what hasn’t? When therapy works great, we still need to:
- Account for cultural differences
- Serve bilingual children
- Make materials that can be used for multiple goals
- Address the aims of the classroom
- Help parents understand how they can help
This hasn’t changed for speech therapy and it hasn’t changed for the easiest way to accomplish everything with one tool: literacy-based intervention.
How to Use Narratives With Speech Telepractice
Enough with the worry and consternation and back to the fun stuff.
The whole world has been contributing to YouTube, the internet, Google, you name it, for two decades to support literacy. We just have to tweak it a bit to support us.
Where to Find Language Therapy Tools Online
There are three main sources of Book Read-Alouds that are absolutely inexhaustible.
If you work in English, Storyline has been producing books read by famous people for years.
Type in your favorite book and “read aloud” and your language of choice. Even if you are doing therapy in English with a child who speaks French at home. You should search for books that have both English and French readings and provide both links to the parents. Almost all of the common fairytales have been read in multiple languages.
We built a webpage of our favorite books and links to many different languages. We even included an example in case you want to do the read aloud yourself!
How to Conduct Literacy-based Intervention with Telepractice
A great benefit to using book reading links from Youtube is we have found it is easy to use with our two main family types
- Families who can meet with you at a set time where direct intervention takes place.
- Families with a heavy work schedule or multiple children who need to be able to share the book with the child on their own time.
If you can work with the child, here are some strategies to increase the exposure to literacy:
- Send the book link ahead of time and say you are going to talk about it in the next session
- Play the link during the session
- Play the link during the session and stop the story to ask comprehension questions or to carry out activities
- Share the link with the parent after the session and ask them to watch it again to increase comprehension. You can even give the parent one goal to focus on:
“After you watch the story again, ask Jose WHO was in the story and WHERE it took place.”
Language Therapy After Reading the Story
Visuals are the name of the game with telepractice and we have found that creating a Powerpoint slide deck of neutral activities is the easiest way to go.
When I say “neutral” I mean that the main deck has WH question slides, FIRST-THEN-AFTER-AT THE END slides, and slides to write your own story based on the story’s plot.
The great thing about Powerpoint is that you can rapidly rearrange the slides or skip past them depending on the situation. For more information on how to use Powepoint for teletherapy, check out: Zoom – Crucial Dos and Don’ts.
How Do I Make Literacy-based Teletherapy Materials?
Okay, I saved my best tip for last. Are you sitting down? (That was a teletherapy joke. Did you get it?)
Strap in because this one knocked me off my chair.
You don’t have to make literacy-based teletherapy materials.
For the last two decades, like minded educators have been loading all of their literacy materials into SlideShare. Slideshare is a free source for presentation slides. Think of it as the YouTube of Powerpoint or Keynote
You can play right from the screen. Most of the presentations can be downloaded for free by making an account and logging in.
So much of our world has changed. But the SLPs that have been in the field 20+ years will also tell you that so much hasn’t. Teletherapy literacy-based intervention is one strategy that remains a shining star of our practice and withstands the (current) test of time.