Occupational Therapy via Telehealth – What do you guys do?

Occupational Therapists (OTs) provide assessment and therapy to support children when they’re having difficulty with everyday tasks and activities. This could include sensory, regulation, self-care, fine motor or gross motor challenges. There are a number of areas of development we can help our kids and their families with, but a question that we’re often asked is “how do you do this via telehealth?”.

Occupational Therapy via telehealth (at RFW, this is referred to as Telecare) can achieve most of the things we do in-person with kids and families, just with a few slight adjustments and changes!

Here are some of the reason RFW OTs love working with children and families via Telecare.

No distance too far!

“It’s amazing to be able to support children, families and communities that otherwise would find it difficult to access services due to where they live. I love being able to (virtually) travel to so many different locations around Australia during the working week, and feel privileged to be let into the places where our kids spend the most time, being their home and schools.” – Kara

“Telehealth is a platform that breaks down borders and allows for therapists to be in the school, in the home or even in your backyard. Modern technology that has decreased the need for long drives for country kids to access the services they deserve.” – Rachel G

We work with children and families in the environments most important and familiar to them!

“Telehealth takes you into the child’s life. It connects you with their people and their context. It allows for flexibility to provide support to their caregivers and educators. Therapy happens in the home or school using the child’s toys and equipment, and in many cases continues to happen after the therapist signs off. The therapist is the facilitator while the child and their supports do the therapy! That is my favourite thing!” – Alice

We use what’s available!

“One of my favourite things about telehealth is being able to see into different environments that are meaningful to the child. One of my recent sessions was delivered in the playground at school. He made a ‘ninja warrior’ course on the play equipment to support his regulation and motor planning skills. Using the play equipment that he accesses every day at school meant he could repeat this activity as often as needed, increasing the likelihood of follow over of strategies.” – Billie

Working alongside parents, carers and teachers to create best outcomes for country kids!  

“I love that telehealth sessions are taking place in the classroom or home are positively changing teachers or carers perspective of what is possible via a screen. We are continually changing perspectives that telehealth can be just as good as a standard appointment in a clinic room. I also really enjoy the openness of families giving us a glimpse into their home life to see their pets or favourite toys as it’s a great way to build connections.” – Tahlia

“In one day we can go from doing an assessment in Bourke, then five minutes later delivering a session in Griffith. We can provide an information session to parents from literally anywhere in NSW, then support a preschool in Queensland. We are literally able to meet families where they are, which is a pretty cool aspect to Telecare in my opinion.” – Chris

At times, working via telehealth can be challenging. However, as our team member Rachel G eloquently puts it:

“We may be kms away but somehow a connection is formed. Things that were once hard become easier, children are excited to see our faces on their computer screens. Soon enough we feel as though we are in the room with them, fist bumping, high fiving and kicking goals.”

To find out more about how a Telecare session may look, listen to this interview between our OT Tayla and Emerging Minds.