Tele-therapy Challenges

Hello, I am a current SLP graduate student and have two questions for a clinician. With the recent increase in providing tele-therapy services, have you found it more or less challenging to motivate and/or implement strategies with your clients? Also, what was your favorite “breakthrough” moment with a client? Thank you.

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Tele-therapy Challenges — 1 Comment

  1. Hello! I absolutely LOVE both of your questions!!! I will answer them both! Your second question shows me your passion and empathy for the profession- kudos!!!!
    Question 1: Is it more or less challenging to motivate and/or implement strategies with your clients?
    -At first it was, yes. I started doing Telehealth visits with private clients back last spring. I really struggled to get a three year old to attend to task her first couple of sessions, and me not being the most creative SLP in the world, had a difficult time coming up with ways to get her to engage in play therapy or tasks. I spoke with her parent, and we TOGETHER came up with some ideas to get her motivated. The third session was so much better. Night and day difference. Her mother and I put our heads TOGETHER to come up with a plan. That is what it is all about most of the time. Mama knew her best- and I was, well, struggling. My seven year old daughter still doesn’t do well with virtual classroom Zoom and staying motivated- try being 3! I was raw, honest, and told her mother “ok, yea that was a struggle for me- I am used to pulling tricks off the shelf to keep her motivated and I didn’t have that- we are going to have to come up with a plan together- what are her favorite things and home and how can we make this work” and WE did. I ended up seeing her for some weeks after that, and it worked out so much better once we figured out the tools to keep her motivated. Sessions were a bit shorter to accommodate the new mode of therapy, yes… but we figured her out. 🙂
    Question 2: What was your favorite “breakthrough” moment with a client?
    -This is actually a really hard question because I have had so many. SO many. And my definition of “breakthrough” could be anything. A “breakthrough” is a patient with aphasia making a noise. All the way to someone who stutters coming in with a smile that day because they spoke to someone. It’s kind of like how you define the term “success.” Does success have to be a college degree or is it also the single mother that got dinner on the table that night? Both? Have I got you thinking yet, dear one? I love to make people think. It’s my specialty besides stuttering. Ok, back to answering your question. My favorite breakthrough moment and let me find one in my brain repertoire that is particular to a person who stutters because that’s what this panel is all about. AHA I’ve got it. My first year with my CCC (Certificate of Clinical Competence here in the States) I was treating a young child around the age of ten. I also had a university student with me at the time (well, I was supervising three of them, but one of them happened to be in the room when this happened.) We had a child that was had typically low to moderate affect (meaning, his personality/emotions weren’t… heightened.) One of my most memorable moments were during the playing of a really great game of Uno (that card game with the colors and numbers.) Well, this kid schooled us. When I say school us (my student and myself) I mean, he royally schooled us- ate us for lunch- beat us so hard that we had no mercy left. At the end of the card game, this kid almost did like a touchdown in American football victory dance style celebration; something we had never ever seen him do. This child, who was typically so down in the dumps appearing, didn’t speak much to us, etc…. legitimately celebrated this card game win by exclaiming, “OH YEA, I JUST WON, I’m the bomb, and y’all aren’t.” THAT is one of my most memorable moments.
    Can you notice something with my response to your question number 2, dear one. My breakthrough wasn’t a moment of fluency for a client. It wasn’t a moment when strategies were used perfectly and it wasn’t a moment when a speech sound was mastered with 100%.. it was a moment when a child came out of his shell, and celebrated himself perhaps for the first time… THAT I will always remember for my career and my life. I will never forget that child. My student won’t either, and every so often that former student (who is now my colleague/friend) sends me a random text that simply says “You’re the bomb” and I know exactly what she means. Be well, and I hope that this response enlightened you.

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