Tuesday, March 21, 2023

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to continue a regular routine for your kids. Many children rely on speech therapy to help them academically and socially, so it is key to continue their speech therapy and not disrupt their normal schedule. This is why virtual speech therapy is the perfect way for your child to continue targeting their speech therapy goals.

Perhaps you have had speech concerns about your child for some time but have put off doing anything because the process feels overwhelming and time consuming. If so, now is a great time to start. Research shows that virtual speech therapy works, as children make progress comparable to in-person speech therapy targeting the goals of sound production, language comprehension, social skills and reading. Virtual therapy enables you to do this online and in your own home—and so is very efficient for families and effective for children to continue developing.

Through video conferencing technology, research-based methods are used to target a variety of speech and language goals. Every person is different. That’s why individualized treatment plans are tailored to the child’s needs and communication goals in all virtual sessions.

In a fast-paced world convenience trumps everything and your time is premium. I know all parents want the best for their children, but sometimes it feels like there is just not enough time in the day. Thankfully, weather and traffic delays never get in the way of virtual therapy. Sessions are from the comfort of your home, always on your schedule—mornings, nights or weekends. In my experience, many families find the flexibility of online speech therapy more convenient.

Sessions are fun, effective and high quality. Sessions are individualized and geared toward your child’s favorite activities to make learning fun based on each person’s needs, likes and dislikes. Children love playing very engaging and interactive games while working on their speech and language skills—and so I integrate fun games wherever possible. Virtual therapy is interactive, which means we can share screens, whiteboards, games, writing, and reading to help us communicate. Kids love being on the computer so they are naturally drawn to virtual therapy and that excitement helps with the motivation and engagement.

Parent interaction is always welcomed in virtual therapy. Parents are welcome to join in on the session to increase involvement and understand your child’s chances of generalizing their skills into everyday life.

Speech therapy is helpful for all ages. For ages 0-3 parents can work directly with a speech therapist to learn cues and at-home strategies to improve their child’s communication. For ages 3-6 parents can attend video sessions alongside their child so they both learn valuable skills from their speech therapist. For ages 7 and up most children attend video sessions independently but parents are kept in the loop with updates and tips during each session. Speech therapy is also helpful for adults to improve public speaking, interview skills and remove something in your speech that always bothered you or kept you self-conscious when communicating with others.

Practice makes perfect. Therapy doesn’t stop after the appointment. You receive real-life tips and exercises at the end of each session for continued improvement on your time.

Everyone involved in your child’s development should be aware and up to date with your child’s goals. As a committed speech therapist, it is important for me to work with everyone involved in your child’s academic plan. It is important to keep your child’s teachers, counselors, and anyone else working with your child each day in the loop so they can help generalize the goals in everyday settings.

I have seen the amazing benefits that online speech therapy can provide for kids and families. Virtual therapy can really make your life easier. All you need to do is turn on a computer, click a button and together we can target your goals.

Ashley Small is a proudly practicing speech-language pathologist licensed in New Jersey and New York. She works for the Department of Education where she treasures her role as a therapist helping children reach academic success and educating parents about the laws regarding special education. In addition, she has a private practice where she works with a variety of children with articulation disorders, apraxia, autism, language difficulties, reading disorders, stuttering and other health impairments as well as adults with Parkinson’s disease. She can be reached at ashleysmallslp.com, 973-486 4122 or [email protected]

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