online speech therapy jobs

Online Speech Therapy Jobs

What are Online Speech Therapy Jobs?

An online speech therapy job (sometimes known as a telepractice or telespeech job) is when a speech therapist interacts with the client in a web-based venue. The SLP conducts the session much the same way as would be done face to face except instead of being physically in the same room, they are communicating over the Internet in real-time.

Essentials

Modern technology has allowed for the hardware requirements to be relatively modest. You, the therapist, will only need a laptop with at least a 15 inch screen accompanied by a webcam and a headset that has a microphone attached. The video communication is generally provided through video conferencing software or hardware that is HIPAA compliant (e.g. GoToMeeting).

Enhancements

While these are the basics, online speech therapy jobs are often enhanced with peripheral devices. These include document cameras, add-on video input equipment for computer interfacing, or other types of auxiliary applications such as text chat, whiteboards, or screen sharing that engage the student and will expand the possibilities of any given session.

Materials

As the development of materials continues to accelerate, clinicians no longer need to strain to find that which is fresh and stimulating. While there is the challenge of presenting visual materials across via the web as effectively as face to face, even this can be solved quite simply by accessing the plethora of mobile apps and interactives now available.

Truthfully, selecting materials for online speech therapy jobs is quite similar to that used for face-to-face therapy, as there are already many digital applications. Beyond this, however, is the brave new world of imaginative apps and web-based materials, many of which are on the cutting edge of innovation in both education and therapy.

Therapists can also create materials using readily accessible resources such as digital photos. When families snap and share photos with their mobile devices, this can initiate the formation of important alliances with clinicians, engaging parents in the process. Parents can take pictures of their child in activities and then with ease share these with clinicians for the creation of materials.

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Benefits

Telepractice offers numerous benefits for the therapist. In fact, it's a dream come true!  First of all, an online speech therapy job offers you, the clinician, the opportunity to be your boss while simultaneously growing a career as an independent contractor. The hours are flexible; you can work either part-time or full-time.  And there is no need to travel.

Then, there is the satisfaction you will have knowing that students from around the country and even other parts of the world can be served, all within the comfort of your home. Since you can spend more time working with kids, less time in the car, in meetings, or doing paperwork, your productivity is bound to increase as well.

Not only that, but you'll also be able to manage your caseload and workload more efficiently, and say goodbye to all those forms that need to be signed and filed. Everything is online. As a bonus, you'll join an expanding online community of innovative clinicians, exchanging ideas, and grow your skills in the exciting new area of telepractice.

So What are You Waiting For?

The acceptance and popularity for telepractice continue to grow by the month. As its reach expands, together with its increasing ease of implementation, it certainly behooves every speech therapist to take a good hard look at it, and ask, “Is it right for me?” Go ahead and ask it, you won’t be sorry you did!

online social workers

Online Social Workers: Please Don’t Reassure Your Client

Online Social Workers Know Anxiety Quite Well

Online social workers realize that every child is afraid and anxious at times. This fear and anxiousness can be helpful in protecting the child in unfamiliar situations, promoting caution.

But full-blown anxiety is different. It causes a fear alarm inside the child’s mind and body. Although it's only a false alarm, it still feels very real to the child; triggering the fight-or-flight response.

Why Reassurance Isn't Helpful

Why does the reassurance of the parent or online social worker so often fall on deaf ears? Because the ears are not the problem! The anxious child wants to listen, but the brain won’t allow it. When the child is gripped by anxiety, chemicals steadily stream into the body disabling the prefrontal cortex, clouding the thinking and preventing reassuring words from penetrating.

If we explore further, we will discover that far more can be done to comfort children by listening carefully to their fears and teaching them the methods and techniques to engage and remove those fears by themselves.  Think more deeply into the child’s words and drill down to their core, instead of accepting the child’s interpretation of the situation at face value and responding to it.

By teaching children how their anxiety operates, they become liberated from the bonds of their perception and begin to see the situation from a different vantage point.  Reframing their problem will empower them to rise above their assumed predicament and enable them to engage the risks of the situation knowing that they're not as insurmountable as initially presumed.

This is the case regarding nearly all anxiety disorders whether it be obsessive compulsive, where the child may be convinced that his hands are contaminated with a dirty tissue, or a child who is suffering from a separation anxiety disorder, petrified that a robber is about to invade the house.  Either way, the job of the online social worker is to challenge and change the child’s perception.

Simply put: If you want to help a child stricken with anxiety, you need to inform her that she has options.

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In other words, we want to elevate the child beyond reacting to the situation by worrying, and instead empower the child to solve the problem by selecting a more realistic option. Reassurance, because it doesn’t challenge the perception, does none of that.

The Alternative: Which Narrative?

Anxiety is not an automatic reaction to the situation but rather to its perceived risk. Fear is not an accurate measure of the actual degree of risk. It could be that this is one of the most valuable keys online social workers can offer children. Once we help change the narrative, the problem becomes more manageable.

The result? We transform “worrying energy” into "solutionizing".

It's imperative that the online social worker shows the distinctions between the narrative that induces worrying and the narrative that is more factually based.  This needs to begin with the child enunciating all the fears swirling around in her head, allowing her to hear those worries. Once articulated, the alternative narrative can start by correcting the mistakes of the “worry narrative”.

It's only after children have mitigated in their minds the perceived risk that they can approach the problematic situation slowly and carefully, with new confidence. Reassurance never accomplishes that. At best it is merely a temporary fix. However, often it handicaps the child from overcoming the anxiety.

Remember, successful therapy means empowering children, not reassuring them!

online mental health therapy is tough

The 3 Biggest Challenges of Online Mental Health Therapy

Few satisfactions are as sublime as alleviating another’s pain. Consequently, few professions are more rewarding than online mental health therapy.  But it isn’t free.

Below are the three greatest challenges of online mental health therapy.

Ethical Issues Confronting Online Mental Health Therapy

Online Mental Health Therapy can brush up against genuine ethical issues and engender discomfort and dilemma in the relationship. Some of the more common challenges  are:

Values:  It is imperative that the therapist’s cultural and religious values and beliefs stay out of the therapy. If the clinician is to be of help, then he/she must strive to understand the client’s religious and cultural orientation in a professional manner free and clear of discrimination. If the therapist feels there is a conflict, then the client must be referred to another therapist.

Confidentiality: Short of written permission otherwise, the client’s information must remain strictly confidential as therapy depends upon trust. Even when family or friends request information, this confidence must be maintained despite the protests otherwise. Alternatively, a court order may require the therapist to divulge private information.

Boundaries: Many therapists feel their most challenging ethical issues is maintaining professional boundaries with their clients. Sometimes the professional role of clinician will be in direct conflict with another relationship with the client be it friend, business or otherwise. This dual relationship will often compromise if not completely undermine the benefit of the therapy.

Changing Patterns

Often a client is “stuck” in a detrimental situation or relationship due to patterns that developed and were reinforced through decades of repetition. Helping clients detach themselves from these destructive and deeply entrenched patterns can present a daunting challenge.

It can seem impossible to generate movement beyond these deeply held beliefs and thoughts that have been clung to dearly often since childhood.

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What complicates this further is that the client can’t just drop cold turkey. A happy medium is required to on the one hand allow the client to continue these unhealthy patterns (when necessary) while simultaneously pushing for substantive change. Finding this happy medium in online mental health therapy requires a great degree of sensitivity, understanding, and finesse.

Emotional Drain and Burnout

But perhaps the most difficult challenge for many a therapist is enduring their client’s pain as the client works through the issues.  Effective therapy by definition often demands to navigate emotionally painful territory. Experienced therapists know that “baring one’s heart” doesn’t always make it feel better.  In fact sometimes, it makes it feel worse.  But they also know that this courage is often the key to success.

Dredging up painful experiences and memories, to say the least, can be upsetting and sometimes overwhelming. Effective therapy, while rewarding, is often a difficult and at times painful process.  There may be many bumps in the road.  For a compassionate and sympathetic therapist, this journey is not easy to witness - not to mention being part of it.

It is critical that the person involved in online mental health therapy acknowledges his/her emotional drain. If a therapist wants to remain helpful and avoid “burnout”, the taxing of these emotions must be addressed.  Clinicians have found various strategies that have been helpful.

Some therapists work shorter days which helps keep energy levels up. Others get ready for sessions through deep breathing and visualization techniques that help prepare for clients. Still others empathize and feel with their clients during sessions, but to also leave it all in my office when they go home. They don’t let the emotional experiences “stick”.

As one therapist was told, “You are very good at being empathic and breathing people’s stuff in. You need to remember to breathe it out.”

online occupational therapy

Online Occupational Therapy: Demystifying a Common Myth

Is Online Occupational Therapy Just Glorified Physical Therapy?

People are often curious about the relationship between Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT). Since both Onsite and Online Occupational and Physical Therapists help individuals increase their independence after an injury or physical impairment, they seem quite similar. In fact, some even think that the two are synonymous!

However, despite their many similarities, there are significant and important differences between the two professions as well. Lacking awareness of these differences may prevent someone in need from seeking the right therapy and getting the best help. So, what exactly is this difference?

Physical Therapy Defined

As part of their education and training, occupational and physical therapists must learn and master the anatomy, the musculoskeletal system, and physiological functioning much like that of a medical doctor.  However, Physical Therapists apply this education to improving movement and regaining strength, especially after an accident or injury.

Physical therapy is concerned with identifying, understanding and treating abnormalities arising from injuries or other physical impairments. While an occupational therapist will conduct a diagnosis as well, the physical therapist diagnoses and treats the physical source of the problem; the injured tissues and structures.

So, Then What is Occupational Therapy?

After determining what hinders the client’s freedom, Onsite or Online Occupational Therapy sets out to change that!  The OT evaluates and aims to improve a person’s functional abilities.  An OT does not treat the injury but rather seeks to optimize their patient’s independence.  The goal is to enable the patient to live “normally” notwithstanding physical impairment or injury.

Since the Occupational Therapist focuses on increasing functionality, the OT sometimes will perform assessments of the patient’s environments–whether it be work or home.  These assessments allows the OT to recommend modifications that will maximize quality of life and greater independence. In Online Occupational Therapy, a third party will perform this evaluation.

Integral to the occupational therapist’s training is the understanding that the client’s success may require modifying the physical environment to help the patient to maximize functionality in light of constraints and limitations due to the injury.  Alternatively, this may require the patient to use equipment designed to increase independence, all part of the Occupational Therapist’s training.

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Simply, The Difference Is?

Understanding the role of each therapist, it's time to clarify the difference.  The easiest way to describe the difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy is that a physical therapist (or physical therapy assistant) treats the patient’s actual impairment, while an occupational therapist (or occupational therapy assistant) treats that impairment in action.

Physical Therapy aims to improve the physical function that has been compromised by the disability by increasing mobility, aligning bones and joints or lessening pain. On the other hand, On-Site or Online Occupational Therapy helps patients adapt to their “new reality” by showing them how to compensate and complete necessary everyday tasks despite new challenges.

Integrating Physical and Occupational Therapy

The beauty is that often these two therapies can be integrated to maximize the patient’s benefit.  For example, for a patient recovering from knee replacement surgery, the PT would give exercises designed at improving mobility with the new artificial knee and to ease post-surgery pain and stiffness.

On the other hand, the OT would instruct the patient how to use a wheelchair in the early stages of recovery.  Once the patient was ready, the OT would shift to helping practice going up and down stairs on the new knee.  This close collaboration between the PT and OT becomes critical in helping the patient achieve a full recovery.