Teletherapy Hacks for Speech Language Pathologists
As most Speech-Language Pathologists learned in 2020, the transition to teletherapy can be a learning curve. Okay, maybe less of curve and more like a series of steep switchbacks 😳 Since any small piece of information can be a golden nugget that makes life as a teletherapist easier, I'm excited to share some that I've accrued over the past 7+ years!
First thing's first. Save yourself from the annoying sounds of the websites that you screen share. Chances are (for most platforms) that your students can't hear the sounds anyways. And chances are that you can't hear your students when those annoying sounds are playing. To put an immediate end to the ruckus by right clicking on the tab at the top of the browser window, then clicking "mute site" (in Chrome). Then thank me later.
Utilize The Snipping Tool
In my opinion, the snipping tool doesn't get enough credit. This application allows you to take a screenshot of any portion of your computer screen. So what's the big deal? Hear me out– This tool is super handy when you want to email just a portion of a page to a student for homework. And you know when you're desperately trying to explain to a student where a button in the platform is? A button, like 'unmute', that they need to click in order to fix a tech issue? Use the snipping tool to take a quick snapshot of the platform on your screen, and then screen-share the snippet and point out where the button is. This trick has saved me more hours of troubleshooting than I can calculate.
Here's a quick video of the snipping tool in action!
Change Video Size
Do you sometimes feel like you can't see your students as well as you need to when they're in that tiny square? For most platforms, you can increase the dimensions of the video feeds! Sometimes you may need the videos to be large and in charge so you can see a student's articulators (and they can see yours). Or maybe for a social group you'd like for the students to see each other's facial expressions better. Or maybe having your video appear larger to the student helps them pay attention better. Other times it may be more of a priority to see the shared activity, and you can keep the videos smaller. Familiarize yourself with your options to quickly switch between layouts!
Share two activities at once without the tedious task of resizing the windows to both miraculously fit on the screen. Here's a quick demo!
You know when you have a student that can ace any question as long as there are multiple choice answers? Since we want to provide just the right amount of challenge to help our students improve, it just doesn't feel like they're growing when they get everything right..... ya know? If you find yourself in that predicament, try covering the choices of the activity you're screen sharing, just as you might cover choices on a paper in face-to-face therapy. Click here to learn how!
Modify PDF Documents
PDF activities are often the first type of digital activity that SLPs use in teletherapy. But it doesn't take long to reach the sad realization that uploading a giant PDF to a teletherapy platform often gives you an error message. PDF too big. Wah wah wah wahhh. But check out this post to learn how to modify PDFs so they can be used in a teletherapy platform.
Use Multiple Tabs
Not sure why this tip is last, because it is such a game-changer! The video below shows how (and why) I often open the same deck of Boom Cards in multiple tabs!
You can also open the same PDF in multiple tabs of Adobe Reader.... check that out here!
Whether you're a teletherapy rookie or a returning veteran, I hope that these tidbits help make your life a smidge easier. If you have a teletherapy hack to share, comment here or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let me know about it.... I love learning new tips and tricks too!