TeleTherapy Tips from a Physical Therapist
Hi! I’m Jennifer Ellis and I've been a Physical Therapist Assistant with Stellar Therapy Services for the past six years. I love my job and I love helping others! 2020 has been a challenging year for us as therapists and for our students. Change is inevitable as we navigate these uncharted waters. Being flexible and willing to learn new ways to do our job is what it takes to become successful. Physical therapy is challenging to perform virtually, but given the right tools and motivation any student can succeed. I'd like to share some of the TeleTherapy tips and tricks that I've acquired over the last few months of practice.
The main focus of my job is to help students become more functional. In doing this I plan my TeleTherapy sessions to pertain to a student’s specific plan of care and use a sticker chart with activities listed to keep us both on track. The sticker chart becomes a fun list as the student has a choice to choose the activity from ones listed and earn a cool sticker upon completing. Part of being flexible means a session may not go as I previously planned — I may need to be ready to come up with activities that can be performed with what the student has at home to work with.
The chart I have shows items the student can use that takes the place of equipment we may have at school like rolled socks for bean bags and painters tape for a balance beam, etc. Being creative is part of the fun! Most of my students enjoy games during the session to keep them engaged. The numbered boxes allow them to choose a box and when opened has a specific physical therapy task as well as a surprise to explore in the box or Easter Egg. "Movement Dice" is also a fun game where the dice is rolled and the student performs the gross motor skill listed. Keeping on task can be challenging, but those activities keep it fun and easier for the student to stay focused.
Our physical therapy resource links have many resources we can use during the session by screen sharing or using as HEP (Home Exercise Programs) ideas. Show your students and their parents some grace. Just seeing your smiling face and willingness to help can make a world of difference to them!