Mutiara International Grammar School, Ampang
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Odyssey, The Global Preschool (Mont Kiara)
Small Wonder Malaysia

Top 5 Tips to Engage Your Paediatric Clients in Telehealth

by on 14/04/2022 2059

Covid-19 has impacted every part of the society, including the way we deliver allied healthcare services to the community. And as a therapist who works closely with children and families, I’ve been witnessing the advantages and challenges of providing therapy remotely. 

Doing telehealth with children is different from adults. The most common challenge discussed among colleagues is how to engage children with special needs in telehealth. We can't guide and give instant prompts when it is necessary, and it all depends on parents to be our hands to guide the children. Thus, I’ll post some of the strategies that are useful to me.

1. Be a narrator

Not reading a book out loud but narrate what the child is doing. When we become a narrator, the child will feel a special state of mind, like “Oh! Someone is reading to me,” and slowly the child will get engaged with you, with a little more eye contact, and eventually s/he will start to focus on the session. 

2. Body language

How we move affects how the child engages with us virtually. Say, when a person comes near to the screen and looks at you, it will definitely capture your attention more than someone who’s seated further away from the screen. We could use this as one of the strategies to redirect the child back into the session too. In addition to that, our gestures and facial expressions should be magnified in the session to stimulate the child’s experience virtually. 

3. Implement visual schedules

Visual schedules do help the child to anticipate what to expect in the session. Plan ahead and make the session structured and organized for the the child. This structured predictability will help reduce the anxiety and stress of what’s next. 

4. Brain breaks

Allocate appropriate brain breaks throughout the session. Short brain breaks in the session have been shown to have real benefits. It helps the child learn to self-regulate and stay more focused and productive in the session. 

5. Be creative

Every child is unique and has different needs, therefore it is important to remember that the telehealth session doesn't mean the child has to just sit in front of the screen. Be creative and integrate the treatment goals into the activity. Get the child to actively participate in the session in different ways and eventually you would be able to achieve the desired outcomes.