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Telehealth with kids: Tips for your toolbox

Telehealth with kids: Tips for your toolbox
Tasha Perkins Holmes, MOT, OTR/L
April 14, 2022
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Telehealth was an emerging area of practice prior to the pandemic. And over the past two years, it has proven it is here to stay. 

There are many benefits. For example, telehealth increases access to services for patients in remote areas. It also makes it possible to deliver treatment without the concern of passing illnesses between clinician and patient. 

However, many clinicians are unfamiliar with how this service delivery model is implemented. 

Tasha Perkins Holmes, who presents courses for OccupationalTherapy.com, provides resources for clinicians who wish to gain knowledge about the implementation of telehealth services in pediatric populations. 

“Telehealth is incredibly important for providing access to patients who may otherwise have a barrier to service,” said Perkins Holmes, MOT, OTR/L, BCP. “In today's health climate, telehealth makes continuity of services possible. It is also giving many OT practitioners the opportunity to try a new method of service delivery.”

Here are a few of Perkins Holmes’ tips to fill your pediatric therapy toolbox: 

Essential telehealth provider tools: What do you need to get started?

  • An external webcam will allow the child to see everything you are doing with your hands on your desktop and also when moving about your space. 
  • High-speed internet connection
  • Headphones with a microphone
  • Computer
  • HIPAA/FERPA-compliant platform for services
  • Quiet, private environment

Essential telehealth recipient tools: What does your patient need to participate?

  • Webcam (external webcam preferred)
  • High-speed internet connection
  • Headphones with microphone (unless sensory issue presents)
  • Computer (and supplemental devices such as tablets and smartphones)
  • Computer mouse
  • Learning coach—an adult or someone able to assist the student 
  • Quiet, safe environment

Therapeutic use of environment: How do you best use your patient’s space?

  • The yard can offer many sensory and motor experiences. 
  • Under the bed is great for prone positioning and creating an enclosed “safe” space. 
  • Windows, doors, a shower wall, and refrigerators are wonderful vertical surfaces.

Considerations + supports: Preparing for a successful telehealth session

  • Consider with the in-person caregiver/learning coach if the patient would benefit from a designated workspace for therapy sessions.
  • Would the patient do better standing or with alternative seating, such as a bean bag or the floor?
  • A timer and a visual schedule can be helpful so that patients know what to expect in each session.
  • Some patients may benefit from a social story about teletherapy prior to sessions.  

Things to remember

  • Be organized and prepared. 
  • Be flexible. 
  • Be confident.
  • Be clear and concise with explanations and requests. 
  • Have fun!

More information and case studies are available in Perkins Holmes’ course Telehealth: Information and Tips for Your Pediatric Therapy Toolbox.

 


tasha perkins holmes

Tasha Perkins Holmes, MOT, OTR/L

Tasha Perkins Holmes, MOT, OTR/L has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a Master's degree in Occupational Therapy from Nova Southeastern University. Tasha has been an occupational therapist for over 16 years.  She has worked in a variety of settings with age groups spanning from toddlers to the elderly. Tasha has spent over 9 years providing school-based OT services with more than 6 of those years using a teletherapy service delivery model. Her teletherapy experience has allowed her to provide school-based OT services across the United States and as well as internationally. In addition to direct treatment services, Tasha also spent time teaching in the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Central Piedmont Community College.

 

 



Related Courses

Pediatric Telehealth: Supports in the Virtual Setting
Presented by Tasha Perkins Holmes, MOT, OTR/L
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Course: #4897Level: Introductory1 Hour
This course will provide information and ideas for supporting pediatric clients/students in the virtual setting. Ergonomics as well as interdisciplinary collaboration and parent/caregiver coaching will be discussed.

Telehealth: Information and Tips for Your Pediatric Therapy Toolbox
Presented by Tasha Perkins Holmes, MOT, OTR/L
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Course: #4699Level: Introductory1 Hour
Telehealth is an emerging area of practice and many clinicians are unfamiliar with how this service delivery model is implemented. This course will provide information and tips for clinicians that wish to gain knowledge about the implementation of telehealth services with pediatric populations.

Pediatric Teletherapy: Treatment Ideas for Older Children
Presented by Tasha Perkins Holmes, MOT, OTR/L
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Course: #5047Level: Intermediate1 Hour
This course explores the occupational needs of the older child as well as therapeutic treatment ideas to address those needs.

Pediatric Teletherapy: Treatment Ideas Using Household Items
Presented by Tasha Perkins Holmes, MOT, OTR/L
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Course: #4845Level: Introductory1 Hour
Providing telehealth can be challenging when the pediatric client has limited resources for therapy. This course will provide you with treatment ideas using household items.

U.S. Healthcare Services & Diverse Populations
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This course provides information regarding some of the barriers that minorities face in the healthcare setting. It also provides ideas for improving patient-centered care for diverse populations.

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