Online Occupational Therapists
Fine and gross motor skills are easily addressed in telepractice. Online occupational therapy is made simple with Global Teletherapy’s “Toolkit” resources: each student and therapist receives a kit so that important work can be done together in a video conference session.
Should you need help with any student, an e-helper, learning coach, paraprofessional, or parent should be available to assist. For inspiration and resources, Global Teletherapy provides access to lead therapists, and an online community of other licensed occupational therapists to engage with.
Results are celebrated as students and therapists work together to gain strides and enhance each other’s quality of life.
Occupational Therapy Demo
The Global Difference™
An online team of friends, lead therapists, and dedicated school relationship managers help make your job easier.
Manageable caseloads, no commute, and working when you have time helps you and your family grow.
Gain access to a complete online resource library of fun and engaging activities for you and your students to enjoy.
Get paid for your non-clinical time and no fees for assessments.
School relationship managers make sure things run smoothly and assist you in many administrative tasks.
Competitive salary and supplemental pay for non-clinical hours, with less paperwork, make your career experiences rewarding. Isn’t that why you became a therapist?
Online Occupational Therapy Defined
There are many areas where Online Occupational Therapists (OTs) can help
Some children find handwriting, catching a ball, or even tying shoes difficult. Although their visual acuity and perception are excellent, and there’s no issue with hand strength or ability, integrating the hands and eyes may be the problem. This is but one of many areas where an Occupational Therapist (OT) can help.
Other areas include:
COORDINATION SKILLS: Coordinating movements between the two sides of the body, “crossing the midline.”
EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING SKILLS: Problem-solving, sequencing, higher level thinking
PLAY/SOCIAL SKILLS: Appropriate social interactions, e.g., eye contact and voice volume
FINE MOTOR SKILLS: Maintaining proper pencil grasp to perform handwriting tasks successfully
SELF-CARE SKILLS: For example buttoning a shirt or zipping a jacket
GROSS MOTOR SKILLS: Addressing core strength to improve coordination for both and fine motor activities
SENSORY PROCESSING: Proscribing sensory modifications to help maintain control over stimulation from the environment
VISUAL MOTOR SKILLS OR VISUAL-MOTOR INTEGRATION: Helping to coordinate and integrate visual perception and motor skills
Occupational Therapists help to maximize a child’s active engagement in the meaningful activities of daily living. However, most people think that Occupational Therapy is only for students with disabilities. What they don’t realize is that it can also be helpful to children who are having difficulties in school.
Since the source of many difficulties in school may be traced to visual or perceptual problems, motor skills, cognitive processing, difficulties staying on task, disorganization, or inappropriate sensory responses, Occupational Therapy may be the best solution to improve the child’s behavior or learning.
Evaluations and assessments can determine the student’s strengths and weaknesses in a variety of areas. Based on those results, the OT, trained to look at the “whole child,” can craft interventions tailored to the child’s skills, the specific activity, and its particular demands.
There aren’t enough onsite occupational therapists
However, there is a silent but growing problem. According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026.” The less cheery side of this is that the rapidly growing demand for OTs will leave many needy and deserving children without a therapist to deliver services.
And the pain is already being felt. As a result of the worsening shortage, schools are increasingly unable to provide sorely needed OTs for their students. Inflated costs press upon already overstrained budgets, and school personnel is forced to devote inordinate amounts of time and effort hunting down scarce resources.
However, let’s suppose for a moment that there was no OT shortage. Let’s even imagine that there was a healthy surplus. Would that make the problem disappear? The answer is no! That’s because of an equally imposing hurdle– money, or not enough of it.
Aside from budget shortfalls, there are the higher recruitment fees charged by staffing agencies to find
“distant and elusive” OTs, and then once the OT is found, those OTs must be reimbursed for their transportation expenses inflating the cost even further. The sad reality is this: there isn’t enough money available to provide many deserving children with the needed therapy.
Further exacerbating the problem is that these shortages are unequally distributed geographically. The problem in rural areas is even worse than in the rest of the country. Salaries are not competitive, and the rural regions are far from urban cultural centers and universities, which often prevents therapists from participating in training and development programs that would enhance them professionally.
The growing OT shortage means higher caseloads for therapists in rural districts which results in inferior therapy sessions for the children, leads to OT burnout on an unprecedented scale, causes unexpected recruiting and turnover expenses, and students are making slower—or no—progress against their IEP goals.
The collateral damage of too few therapists
LOW SELF ESTEEM: A developmental delay or sensory processing difficulty lacking the requisite Occupational Therapy could eventually erode a child’s self-confidence. Kids know when they aren’t functioning like their peers. When a child is young, awkwardness, clumsiness, or even some compulsiveness may be adorable, but as the child matures, it is no longer cute and is practically guaranteed to undermine the child’s confidence.
ACADEMIC STRUGGLES: When a child can’t fully participate in school activities such as being unable to pay attention in class, focusing on the task at hand, or even holding a pencil correctly, there are bound to be real problems. Anything that is going to hamper a child’s ability to succeed in the early years of school weakens the foundation for future academic success.
SOCIAL ANXIETY: Anxiety disorder has become the most diagnosed mental disability identified in children under age six. And sensory integration issues have become one of the culprits. Maybe it’s that their socks are bunched up, or they don’t like the feel of clothing labels. The child feels too cold or too hot or too itchy. Any of these sensory inputs could become a cause of anxiety the child.
Many times when children are struggling in school, or at home, most parents and educators think attention deficit disorder is the culprit, but quite often the reason that the homework is late or that the child is acting out either in school or at home is grounded in some sensory dysfunction.
LONELINESS AND ISOLATION: Children that do not reach developmental milestones when they should tend to feel out of place around their peers. Due to the stress that comes with developmental delays, it is more likely that a child will not be able to devote the time or effort required to cultivate social relationships. And as a child gets older, this inability to function in social situations will make school and life, in general, increasingly difficult.
What will become of the growing numbers of children, predominantly in Rural America, who have no access to the Occupational Therapy they so desperately need?
Online occupational therapy is the obvious solution
Online Occupational Therapy is the online delivery of Occupational Therapy services. Online Occupational Therapy sessions are very similar to traditional Occupational Therapy sessions with one major exception. Instead of sitting in the same room, students and therapists interact via high-resolution live video conferencing.
During therapy sessions, the student and therapist can see, hear, and interact with one another in real time, using webcams, headsets, and a live, synchronous online learning environment. If you’ve ever used Skype on your computer or FaceTime on your iPhone, you’ve used a similar type of technology.
The distinct advantage of online Occupational Therapy is that now any school anywhere can access top-quality therapists at competitive rates and ensure that their students will receive excellent uninterrupted services. Geography, mobility, and time have ceased to be the barriers they once were.
By extending top-quality clinical services to remote, rural, and underserved populations, online Occupational Therapy holds the promise of reducing the devastating consequences impacting the children due to the OT shortage and alleviating severely strained school budgets.
Best of all, online Occupational Therapy is highly engaging for today’s students. By utilizing fun and engaging digital technology, online Occupational Therapy is exceptionally kid-friendly. Today’s children are comfortable with computers and love game-based activities such as video interactions and digital learning.
Top benefits of online occupational therapy:
BUDGET: Online Occupational Therapy maximizes the therapist’s time by eliminating traveling, which translates into significant savings for the school. What’s more, there are fewer expenditures related to recruitment, screening, contracting, training, and the managing of OTs.
CONVENIENCE: Online Occupational Therapy redefines flexibility and convenience while improving staff efficiency. While traditional face-to-face therapists may lock the school into a rigid schedule, the online delivery model allows for therapy when it is convenient for the student, even outside of school hours.
DIVERSITY: Schools have better access to culturally and linguistically diverse therapists as well as clinicians with specialties. Better targeting produces more effective outcomes.
EXCELLENCE: Online Occupational Therapy affords schools previously unprecedented access to top-notch therapists, as they are no longer limited to locally-based clinicians, but can draw from an extensive nationwide network of highly qualified, certified and licensed therapists.
Other key advantages:
CONSISTENCY: Since the attrition rate of therapists is often linked to travel time, eliminating travel translates into a marked rise in the therapist’s consistency with the child.
AUTOMATION: Scheduling, tracking, reporting, auditing are digitized to bring clarity to the administrator’s fingertips and reduce compliance issues.
INDEPENDENCE AND PRODUCTIVITY: Therapists enjoy flexible hours from the comfort of their home increasing productivity and allowing more time with the kids.
MATERIALS: Clinicians can access an ever-expanding array of creative, and highly motivating materials. Global Teletherapy provides a duplicate “kit” of fun materials for the student and therapist. This provides an engaging interaction that helps with the student’s progress.
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