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Telehealth Services during Covid-19 Closure

During the closure of The Emerge Center due to COVID-19, we used telehealth to ensure continuity of care for our children and families. Emerge’s team was able to provide Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and parent training with a Behavior Analyst or Psychologist.

Since we work with such young children, in most cases, the sessions incorporated both a parent/guardian and the child.

Melissa Handy, Speech-Language Therapist and Clinical Supervisor at Emerge, shared this snapshot of a recent telehealth session with a two-year-old client:

The video platform for our sessions worked beautifully and mom started the “call” with her son when she was changing his diaper, which I loved! #reallife

First, we talked about what it’s like to change his diaper – Does he fight you or cooperate? Do you have him help (for example, ask him to go get the diaper)? Does he follow simple instructions related to diaper changing? What do you talk about during the diaper change?

Mom said she uses words like stinky and makes faces – which opened up a wonderful opportunity to help her target imitation of sounds and facial expressions. We also talked about opportunities to label basic body parts, all while making it a fun social game.

For the next 20 minutes, that little cutie – who is such a busy-body – sat in the chair, made choices, verbalized and interacted while having snack! He even tried to feed me a bite through Mom’s phone!

Mom was amazing as she implemented recommendations related to giving choices, modeling appropriate language and encouraging communication at his level. Her son said new words and most importantly, Mom practiced presenting words and directions at his level, a skill that she can start to use during the course of the day.

Parent coaching is a well-researched, valid form of therapy. It is a WONDERFUL way to target improving Speech-Language skills and transferring knowledge and skills to parents. It’s a blessing that teletherapy was an option for us!