Sunday, March 18, 2018
I began a new adventure in December of 2017 as a tele-therapist delivering speech-language services in the public schools. I knew this would be a very new experience for my young students, so for my first session I created a power point where I introduced myself and showed pictures of my home and my family. Then I gave students a virtual tour of my office, showed them my guitar and bookshelf and talked about my hobbies. Next I asked about their hobbies. One little five year old told me he liked to watch TV TEACHER. It was his favorite show.
At first I didn’t understand. I thought maybe it was a new PBS special or a Netflix original series. Then I realized he was talking about me.
I had just become the TV TEACHER. I thought briefly about explaining the difference between a TV teacher and a speech-language pathologist/ tele-therapist, but I decided to ditch the vocabulary lesson and embrace my new found fame.
I have learned so many things in just the last few weeks, I can tell this will be an amazing journey. Many people have questions about teletherapy. How could it possibly be as good as therapy in person? A recent STUDY looks at student progress and examines the evidence to support tele-therapy in the schools.
I’m sure I will have many interesting stories to tell over the next few months, but here are a few things I’ve learned so far:
1. TRADE THE GLUE STICK FOR LIPSTICK - I never paid much attention to my make-up when I was an on site therapist, especially not my lip stick since I often ate breakfast in the car, but now that I see my face staring back at me on the screen every day, I’ve started keeping lipstick on my desk. Students only see me from the shoulders up, and they are often focused on my mouth, so lipstick comes in handy. Added bonus - I no longer need to stock up on boxes of glue stick.
It did come in handy for my daughter’s wedding last year though. She had created a photo booth for her reception, but the pictures were not sticking to the album. I saved the day because I happened to have glue stick in my pocket. Maybe I should keep one stick handy!
2. SAY YES TO THE DESK - When I created my home office, I treated myself to something I’d been wanting for years - a standing desk. It moves up and down at the touch of a button so I can stand or sit. Alternating my position throughout the day has almost entirely eliminated the aches and pains I suffered from sitting for hours at a time. I ordered my desk through Versa https://versadesk.com. IKEA also has options both manual and electric.
3. STAY CONNECTED- Hardwiring your computer to the internet will provide the best connectivity, but I was not able to do this because my husband also offices at home. His office is at the opposite end of the house and extending the internet cable to my office through the attic would have been difficult and expensive. We tried two different sets of WiFi extenders with poor results. Then someone suggested a whole house mesh. We installed one and it’s been amazing. My husband is so excited he texts me from the garage with the connection speed of 180. On our old system my connectivity was 9 or 10 on a good day. The brand I purchased was Orbi by Netgear. It boasts a >150 Mbps internet speed over a 5,000 square foot range including the yard.
4. HAVE A BACK UP SYSTEM - While I was having issues with our internet, prior to the Orbi, I purchased a Jet Pack from Verizon. It is a device the size of a phone that creates a personal hot spot. It is also password protected, creating a portable firewall for security. It is great for travel but also good when the WiFi goes out.
That’s it for now! Watch for more tips coming soon. Go to my CONTACT page to sign up for my free monthly newsletter.