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NILD Teletherapy - Learning the art of giving effective NILD teletheraphy.

April 1, 2020

Program Process Considerations

  • Meet via Zoom with your student's parent(s) before beginning teletherapy sessions with that student. Meeting with parents can be really helpful in working out kinks with the student’s therapy room setup and with yours, as well as with technical concerns. *Include the student for a minute or two so that they too can see the setup. Likewise, have an additional meeting with the parent if the student’s therapy station needs adjustments.
  • Have the parent place the external camera on the student’s non-dominant side before the session beginning. Work with the parent to gain the best desktop perspective, including placing the external camera on a stack of books so that a wide view can be obtained.
  • Insist that the student’s “therapy station” is clear of clutter, distractions, and has been amply supplied with everything the student will need during his or her sessions.
  • Know your student; know when you need to take away the annotated tools vs. know if the student needs to remain engaged with onscreen activities and plan accordingly. Also, know if the student needs more adult supervision during his or her sessions.
  • Consider asking your students to use headphones as this can help reduce auditory distractions for those with ADHD or auditory processing difficulties.
  • Watch for signs that your student needs a break (e.g., fidgeting, loss of eye contact, etc.) and provide short breaks as needed, including having your student stand several times during the session.  Encourage your student to drink from his or her water bottle as part of a short break. Your student is hydrating his or her brain.
  • Have fun with your students.  Consider virtual field trips that might be related to Dictation and Copy.  You can search the internet for related pictures connected to Dictation and Copy and for Oral Reading.  Have a theme throughout the session.  Just because you are not face-to-face with your students doesn't mean the session has to be boring.
  • As for teletherapy planning, organize all the material you plan to use within a PowerPoint (PPT) and place the most important techniques on the first set of slides. It’s okay to over plan, but be cognizant of the time and realize that each technique may take a little longer than normal as the student, and you learn to transition from one technique to the next.
  • If you use PPT, save each planned session by copying the PPT and renaming it (numbering each one works well). This time-saving tip allows you to make the necessary adjustments to the content on each slide for the student’s next session. It also allows you to change the order of the techniques by simply moving the slides around.
  • Adhere to copyright laws. You have been granted permission from NILD to use NILD published material (the digital files provided in the Dropbox) during your teletherapy sessions. This is the privilege of those who have paid for and taken NILD’s telepractice training; please do not share this content with other educators. Also, follow copyright laws and do not make copies (digital) of other publisher’s content.
  • Use your external camera to allow the student to view copyrighted content.
  • Open all planned content before your session. This will simplify the transition from one document to the next. To accomplish this, follow these steps:
  1. Open each meeting before the set time you plan to meet with the student.
  2. Select “Share" and then open your PowerPoint, PDF, and or document you wish to share during your session. 
  3. Once you open the content you plan to use, leave it open, but “Stop Sharing” your desktop.
  4. Follow this procedure for all of the documents you need for that session.
  5. To access those documents during your session, select “Share,” and you will see them in the “Basic” menu options.
  6. At times you may want to watch your student work through a larger video feed, during those tasks stop sharing documents, but do not close it, and then enlarge the video feed windows.
  7. Finally, you can return to any document still open by once again selecting “Share” and finding that document within the “Basic” menu.

Administrative Process Considerations

  • Typically, 20-25 hours per week of teletherapy is a full week when you factor in documentation, communication with parents, and session planning.
  • Consider how you want to build your online presence to showcase what you do ~ leverage social media; for example, you can create a website with a free website builder (e.g., Word Press or Wix). Remember, hosting a website is a separate process, and there is a small fee associated with any website, even if you build the website for free.  You can also develop a Facebook page that communicates your services as a teletherapist.
  • If you want to grow your online NILD teletherapy practice, consider joining Decoding Dyslexia groups on Facebook and join in on some FB conversations (e.g., share your knowledge).
  • Rates for teletherapy are aligned with face-to-face rates.  Ranges for rates across the country are different and can be as low as $25 per hour to $300 per hour. Consider your geographic location and experience when determining your rates.

Special thanks to Shari Pyle, Bridget Hughes, Erin Calhoun, and Stephanie Ashworth for their contributions to this NILD teletherapy tip list!