Top Five Priorities for Online Therapy Excellence
PRIORITY 5: TECHNOLOGY
Technology is your pathway to your students – foresee barriers and plan for solutions.
We are counting down the top five priorities for online therapy excellence, starting with number five: technology. As grateful as we are to earn international awards for excellence in technology, service, and contributions to communities; we are most proud of our students and their outcomes.
Imagine how exciting it is for us to partner with children who have grown up surrounded by technology in their schools.
For our students, meeting online and learning through our engaging platform is simply a fun day at school. For our therapists, connecting to children and empowering them to become the experts with their skills is simply a fun day at work.
Influencing Excellence with Technology
Suppose you are a professional who would like to serve your students through telepractice and you want to ensure technology will enhance, rather than detract from, your services. What should you build?
Focus: Build relationships with people who care about the students’ experience and outcomes.
Start your relationships by committing to a shared goal, such as,
“Our goal is to provide the students with an engaging therapy experience, free of technical disruptions.”
Everyone involved can be a part of the solution and make a positive difference.
TinyEYE invests significant resources into helping our schools experience a quality, secure technical connection. Regardless of the platform you choose to serve your students, remember your goal. Below are examples of relationships that will help you achieve your goal.
SCHOOL’S TECHNICAL TEAM
- Partner with the school’s technical team before you ever sit down with a child. Provide clarity about the systems and standards required at the schools’ end so that they can prepare and test their platform. Ensure the connection is optimal and that you have a plan in place if disruptions should arise down the road.
- Imagine everything that could interrupt your quality, such as the school’s use of internet during computer labs. Complete a practice session with an adult during a typical school day to rule out any barriers before your students participate.
- Schedule sessions with the intention of giving your students the best possible experience, based on the internet capacity of your school throughout the day.
- Keep in mind that you may need to serve as the school’s tech team! Some regions do not have access to technical support. Technology today enables you to gain access to the school’s computer to complete a tech check and system set up. The internet service provider can also contribute.
- Be resilient and resourceful with achieving a fluid connection. There is always a solution. You are part the solution – you are creating a pathway to your students.
- Your ehelper is your on-site school partner who helps to manage your therapy days and remains with the students during sessions. Ehelpers are incredible contributors to a successful therapy experience for your students.
- Empower your ehelper to prepare for sessions by confirming that the connection and equipment are optimal each day. We want our students to remain physically comfortable with a clear visual and audio experience.
- Provide clarity to your ehelper about technical trouble shooting and how to access help if there is a major challenge.
- We are accountable for finding the way to our students’ success.
- Give your students individualized coaching about their important “job” during sessions. Every student can learn to be a great contributor to a quality session. One of our favorite lines to our students is, “Hands on knees…listen please!” It does not take long before they are successfully using the mouse to manipulate the therapy screen and engage in their learning.
- Technology is incredible because it helps to equalize participation. For instance, when students cannot use a mouse, consider a touch screen or an eye gaze monitor. When services are not effective in front of a static web camera, seek remote and flexible cameras. When students resist headsets, research external microphones and speakers that support video conferencing.
- Technology is engaging and effective if the driver is engaging and effective. You are the driver – you are the magic. Remember: Your mission is not to shine a light on the technology, while you provide some therapy. Your mission is to shine a light on your students, while you provide an outstanding therapy experience.
THERAPIST’S TECHNICAL TEAM
- If you are a private provider and have chosen to serve through technology, build a reliable partnership with a local business that can advise you on optimizing your system for online therapy services.
- TinyEYE’s in-house technical support team protects our schools from technical disruptions, which would impact our students’ experience and outcomes. Because our team monitors our sessions, they are proactive with providing technical adjustments in real time on behalf of our therapists, so that our therapists can focus on our students.
- When schools face persistent challenges, we are accountable for leading the solution. Independent internet lines, new equipment, adjusting bandwidth and ongoing monitoring are just a few options for progress.
- Our technical support team believes in our TinyEYE purpose to grow smiles, mend spirits, and engage children in their lives. Below is a testimony to how committed our support coordinator is to our purpose. It also speaks to the relationships she nurtures with and for our therapists. Her email to me reads:
I have another great TinyEYE story to share with you.
Angela (SLP) had asked me to monitor a session she was having with one school where she was being disconnected suddenly. Everything was going very smoothly. She gave me a heads up that the problem was usually during this one student’s session. So I watched carefully. As he sat down we both clearly saw him grin wickedly and reach for the keyboard. Then they froze. (It seems our student had found a way to magically disappear!)
When we had reconnected, Angela reminded him what to do with his hands (instead of pausing the session). He responded:
“My teacher says I am magic!”
Angela then used that theme to totally engage him. She incorporated magic hand gestures and words into the session. (The gestures also helped us keep an eye on his hands.) He loved it. He laughed and participated with great enthusiasm. He has been really engaged ever since.
Since then he has occasionally paused himself in a session, but it seems more accidental than intentional.
Rena Bartsch, Customer Support Coordinator