Teletherapy for speech therapy is not new, but teletherapy is new for many speech/language pathologists due to COVID-19. We know how to provide excellent evidence-based therapy. Keeping a child motivated when separated by screen is different.
As I said in my previous post, it is helpful for families to have 2-3 motivating toys available for teletherapy. Instruct the parent to hold onto the pieces and only give them to the child when told. After a few sessions, they get into the flow of how therapy works. It’s also helpful for the therapist as well. Below are 5 toys I have found helpful for providing teletherapy services.
5 Motivating Toys for Teletherapy
- Ball Popper. This toy is my #1 toy favorite for in person therapy and teletherapy. I bought extra balls, and that is key. It is much more fun to watch 20 balls fly in all directions than just 5. Kids are motivated to do their work, and I reward them by putting the balls in the popper. Then the love watching the balls fly around the house. My seasoned therapy kids are thrilled that I’m the one doing the clean-up.
- Jumping Jack. This toy has carrots that you plant. The bunny hops up as you pull out the carrots. This always makes the kids laugh since they never know when that will happen. You 12 carrots which works well for drill work.
- Pop-up Pirate. Similar to Jumping Jack, Pop-up Pirate has swords that you push into a barrel to make the pirate pop up. The kids will work for a sword, and they can choose the color I put into the barrel. This is a therapy classic, so many of you have him already!
- Explore ‘n Grow Busy Gear. This is another younger toy that even the older children will ask for often during therapy. They can choose what color gear I put on and it plays music when I press the red button. The kids love to watch the spinning gears. I usually keep it on demo since it spins and plays music for a shorter amount of time.
- Ipad. It took me awhile to figure out how to screen share and mirror. I usually just hold the iPad up to the screen. The kids are happy to watch me play a game as a reward for finishing their work. The favorite apps are ones that make things like cookies, cupcakes, and pizza. They can request what recipe items to put in the bowl, what frosting they want, or what pizza toppings. MARIO Run is another favorite game. The games are quick 30-60 seconds. It’s fast reward then onto more speech work. My Play Home is also a good one for requesting and making choices. I use that one often.
In addition to toys from home and my toys, I like to send pictures for coloring. I really like dot pictures and daubers, but families can use whatever they want during therapy. I try to email families a dot picture to color for the session. This is also something the child can do while the parent and I discuss the session at the end.
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