My Journey Into Teletherapy
I still remember the first time I heard the word “teletherapy.” It was the spring of 2014, and a speech pathologist that I worked with was sharing about the various settings she had worked in in recent years. She casually mentioned the word “teletherapy” among other jobs, and I believe I responded with, “Wait. What?” After I hounded her with about 94 more questions, I went home that evening and began researching online (like we all do)!
As a speech pathologist, I never considered that I’d ever work from home in a million years, although the thought was immediately very appealing to me. I was working in an outpatient clinic and since I was off on Fridays, I thought that would be a great opportunity to try out teletherapy with very little risk. With having an infant, I also knew the extra income could help ease the financial burden of daycare costs. I applied and interviewed with a couple of companies, and accepted a job with one of them as a contractor for the following school year.
Over the summer I completed the company-provided training on using their platform and started learning about activities to use in teletherapy. When school started, I was assigned 8 or 10 students to fill several hours on Fridays. I absolutely fell in love with teletherapy. Using technology in speech therapy was something I had enjoyed since taking an elective on the subject as an undergrad student (years before iPads or interactive whiteboards came into existence), and now I was able to dive much deeper into that interest.
Over the next three years, I gradually increased the days that I dedicated to teletherapy and decreased my days working in the clinic. In the spring of 2017, I made the leap and fully transitioned to teletherapy. I now had two kids, and valued the flexibility more than ever. While it was difficult to say goodbye to the clinic where I worked for nearly a decade, I knew that teletherapy was the right fit for me personally and professionally, as well as what worked best for our family of four moving forward.
The leap to full time teletherapy was 2.5 years ago and I have not looked back. While it may not be right for every SLP, teletherapy is such a great fit for me. I still love working from home. For example, the flexibility of being able to walk my daughter to the bus stop and be home when she arrives after school is priceless. I have continued to embrace the technology and have taught myself to make digital therapy materials to share with others, which I find very fulfilling. I feel connected to my students, and in the past 5.5 years I have discovered limitless ways to help them make progress. I have met so many amazing people from around the country which is continuously broadening my horizons. I am able to work independently but only be a “ping” away from my coworkers. I could go on and on. There have been learning curves and challenges, yes. But I’m so grateful for teletherapy because I’m confident that it’s right where I’m supposed to be.
If you're interested in learning more about teletherapy, follow along on with me on Instagram, where I share more behind-the-scenes information about this area of the field!