Sherwood Teletherapy Services FAQs
As a leading Early Intervention agency, we understand that the first few years of a child’s life are so important for development. This meant that during the outbreak of COVID-19, we needed to ensure a way to help our families continue to receive effective and important services while keeping everyone safe and healthy. While the term “teletherapy” might sound intimidating at first, we have found this method to be highly effective for early intervention therapy services.
Sherri, Sherwood Speech Therapist uses finger puppets during teletherapy session.
What is teletherapy?
Teletherapy are virtual services. At Sherwood, our team may use virtual video calls through Zoom, telephone conferences, exchanging of home videos, or a combination of these methods. During Zoom virtual video calls, you and your child together will be participating in therapy at home in your child’s natural environment and a skilled therapist or educator will be working remotely at a secure location. If your family needs an interpreter, an interpreter will also be on the video call.
What does the intake process look like using teletherapy?
Your intake meeting will be with your family resource coordinator (FRC) through Zoom or a phone call. In this meeting, you will discuss your concerns for your child, complete a developmental assessment, and discuss the evaluation and enrollment process. You also will be given a chance to review important paperwork.
Will insurance cover teletherapy services?
In general, teletherapy services have been covered similarly to in person sessions. If you have any concerns with insurance coverage, Sherwood’s billing department will work with your family.
What do Early Intervention services look like using teletherapy?
For many years at Sherwood, we have used a parent coaching model to implement therapy because of its effectiveness for the birth-3 age group and to help promote carryover. Our therapists share strategies and activities for you to complete with your child to promote development. Sessions are typically 50 minutes in length, but our therapists can adjust time based on tolerance and attention. While every session looks a little different depending on your therapist, a typical teletherapy session might look like:
Reviewing our plan from previous sessions.
Discussing what worked, what did not work, and any progress you have seen.
Choosing and practicing strategies that feel appropriate for your family.
Receiving real time feedback from your therapist about implementation of strategies.
Creating a new home plan for the next week(s).
How can I prepare for my first teletherapy evaluation or session?
Make sure you have already downloaded the free Zoom app and have your device fully charged. Depending on what area of development you are working on, it may be helpful to have a few toys nearby for your child to play with. In order to maximize this time, we ask you to turn off TV’s in the area we are working and put aside your phone, tablet, or other electronic devices not being used for teletherapy during sessions. Your therapist may also request specific items to have nearby before your evaluation or session. If you have any other questions, ask your therapist before your meeting.
Does teletherapy really work? What if my child won’t sit still?
Yes! At Sherwood, our therapists and families continue to see improvements in development while using teletherapy. Don’t worry: we don’t expect your child to sit still in front of a computer. Since we use a parent coaching model to implement our teletherapy sessions, our therapists can still offer effective strategies that fit in your daily routines to help support developmental progress without needing full compliance from your child. This is a team effort and we know that your child learns best from their own family. But don’t take our word for it:
“Sessions have been going tremendous. They’ve given me such amazing tools to work with [even while being held] over Zoom. Mayla is receptive to Zoom and gets excited to see therapists, Katie and Laura, during sessions,” - Maddie, parent
Jessica’s family was receiving in home therapy prior to recently moving to teletherapy sessions but Jessica says it’s been an easy transition. “We are getting the same level of treatment.” - Jessica, parent
“Gunnar doesn’t sit still very well and Katie has been great at keeping his attention [during sessions]. She’s been such a trooper.”
– Katelyn, parent
“I have enjoyed finding new ways to use technology to help meet my family’s goals. Some kids really love interacting with me through the screen, while some do better with their parents practicing the strategies with me observing. I’ve seen progress with my families using both methods.” - Kimberly, Sherwood therapist
Is teletherapy safe for my family?
Yes. We use Zoom for the majority of our teletherapy services which is a HIPAA compliant platform. At Sherwood, we also assure even more security by requiring our therapists to use unique meeting numbers and passwords for each Zoom therapy session and to “lock” the meeting as soon as everyone is on the call. Each therapist is also required to ensure their remote workspace is a private and secured location.
Do I need a doctor’s referral to start early intervention teletherapy services?
No, you do not need a doctor’s referral. You can give us a call if you have concerns for your little one’s development. We offer speech & language therapy, occupational therapy, feeding therapy, education services, and physical therapy which includes orthotics and postural supportive equipment assessments.
What do I do if I have questions or concerns about teletherapy services?
If you are already in services, reach out to your therapist to share your questions or concerns with services. At Sherwood, we understand that not all kids think or react the same and so we are happy to be flexible with your family’s needs. We understand that you know your child and your family best. Together, we can find a plan that is both safe and effective.
If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your concerns with your therapist directly, reach out to your family resource coordinator (FRC). They are also there to help problem solve and find the right fit for your family.