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Virtual OT, What Can It Be?

Silly COVID… you took my child’s occupational therapy away…

Don’t worry… we’ve got your back! We can deliver your child’s occupational therapy services virtually. Some people call it virtual services, telehealth, or telepractice, and others call it crazy! While it may seem overwhelming to start, eventually, you, your child, and the therapist will develop a routine that works. I have been participating in virtual services for several months now, which doesn’t sound like a long time, but I can tell you, that to me, it feels REALLY long! I can share my experiences and let you know that there are definite ups and downs, and while it can take more than one session to develop a productive strategy, in the end, it works out. 

The Downs

As I mentioned, there can be ups and downs… let’s tackle the downs first…Virtual therapy services require a bit more work from both you and the therapist. For example, it calls for more time and planning on the therapists’ part when communicating to let families know about meeting times and supplies that will be needed prior to the session. Also, during face-to-face therapy, if an activity is not going well or doesn’t take as long as we think it might, we have all of our supplies/games/activities to fall back on; however, in virtual therapy, overplanning is a must. For you, virtual therapy can require more work based on variables such as your child’s age, attention level, and skill level. You may need to be present for some or all of the virtual session to assist the therapist, whereas, during face-to-face therapy, that wasn’t necessary. You will learn to be an extension of the therapist and under their guidance, use strategies, give cues, and provide assistance as needed for your child.  Another downside, if your school system is participating in remote learning, this is one more Zoom link and appointment for you to keep track of. Last, you will need to gather the supplies needed for virutal therapy sessions. 

The Ups

Now, out with the downs, and in with the ups! There are many upsides to virtual services. The most obvious is increased health and safety during the COVID pandemic by decreasing you and your child’s exposure to others. Virtual services make it easier to attend if you are trying to manage and balance multiple or busy schedules. It also allows you to be more involved in the therapy process by being a part of it all. Additionally, to foster your child’s development, there are different techniques that can be used during virtual services that may not have been introduced during face-to-face sessions. Another perk, is that even before the COVID pandemic, I observed a large shift in our society and culture to being technology driven. Using virtual services goes hand in hand with that shift and forces all of us to explore the world of technology.


If your child is participating in virtual services, below are tips that make for greater success. 

  • Maintain an open line of communication between you and the therapist. Often I either email, call, or text a parent in preparation for virtual sessions. At times technical issues arise and need to be addressed by both therapist and family. Share your preferred method of contact – email, phone call or email. 
  • Work with the therapist before starting virtual services regarding what type of supplies your child will need. Occupational therapy tends to be creative… you may be asked to bring kitchen tongs and Q-tips to virtual sessions and they will be used like they never have before! : )  
  • Set up your child’s work area appropriately. 
    • Always remember 90, 90, 90! This is the ideal seated position for anyone to work in. It means your elbows should be bent at 90 degree angles to rest on the tabletop, your hips should be bent at 90 degree angles while seated in a chair, and your knees should be bent at 90 degree angles to keep your feet flat on the floor. If you do not have a child-sized chair and table at home, you can place objects under the chair to get the feet touching a surface instead of dangling (i.e. a cardboard box), and you can place something on the chair for your child to sit in, similar to a booster seat. 
    • When possible, have your child face towards a wall or something with less visual distractions.
    • Keep the work area as quiet as possible to limit auditory distractions.
    • Organize supplies used during virtual services and keep them near. 
  • Be flexible. While technology is helpful, it has a mind of its own at times and we need to go with the flow when something isn’t working.
  • If your child is about to participate in virtual services, engage them in physical activity/movement prior to the session to get their wiggles out and help them be more attentive. 
  • Pat yourself on the back because you are doing all that you can to help your child succeed, and you are doing amazing! Don’t forget to high-five that awesome kid of yours for working so hard!

With this insight into virtual services, hopefully I have answered your questions, given you an idea of what it might look like, and alleviated any stress about having your child participate. We look forward to “seeing” you and your child!

Written by: Madonna Smith, OTR/L

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Patient Reviews

LLA Therapy

Patient Reviews

Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
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