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  • Writer's pictureStacy Crouse

Teletherapy Activities: What Features Should You Look For?

Maybe the thought of creating customized resources to use with your teletherapy caseload gives you all the creative feels.

Orrrr maybe that thought makes you cringe, shudder, and run for the hills of Teachers Pay Teachers because, well... you don’t have the time for that kind of wheel reinvention nonsense.

Either way, it’s very helpful for SLPs to know what features to look for when expanding their teletherapy activity toolbox.

Features of Teletherapy Activities

Let me preface this post by saying that during my first few years as a teletherapist, I only static PDFs, and only static PDFs in teletherapy. I was years away from learning about Boom Cards, interactive PDFs, and Google Slides activities. But I was still doing effective therapy.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a resource in telepractice that you already have, even if it has zero of the qualities listed below. In fact, I have written blog posts about adapting PDF materials in this way.

But the availability of teletherapy-friendly activities is night and day compared to where it used to be. So if you want to discover some key characteristics that make resources more suitable for teletherapy than others, read on!

Landscape Orientation

Most teletherapy platforms have a shared space for you to open or screen-share activities. Like computers and smartboards, that space is usually wider than it is tall. Therefore, pages, cards, or slides in a landscape format (such as this Google Slides language activity) work best to fill the space. In contrast, most worksheets are printed in portrait orientation.

A Google Slides language activity being played on a laptop in a teletherapy session

Less Content on Each Slide

Teletherapy activities (such as the conversation activity shown below) tend to have a single prompt or question per page, card, or slide. When many questions or prompts are visible at the same time, the text is often too small. It may also confuse the student about where you are currently working on the page.

A social skills Boom Card deck being used on a laptop in a teletherapy session to target conversation skills

Since using digital activities means there is no need to worry about wasting that beloved printer paper, you might as well make those pictures and text large and in charge!

Colorful Images

Another difference between printable and digital activities is the freedom to use colorful photos and graphics! Since teletherapy activities are presented digitally and you won't need to print a single thing, bring on the color photos and clip art!

Incorporating colorful images (as in the following directions activity below) is a great way to draw students in and increase engagement.

bright and colorful images on a speech therapy Boom Card deck being used in a teletherapy session

Of course, it's still a good idea to be mindful of visibility and text readability. This is especially true for students with vision or attention issues. Additionally, layering too many images can make the page, slide, or card overwhelming and too busy.

Digital Interaction

The last aspect to consider when creating or purchasing digital activities for teletherapy is the amount and types of digital interaction. In my opinion, this is where digital resources really shine. I mean, just check out this articulation drawing activity!

An articulation Boom Card deck being used in a teletherapy session

Activities that require folding, cutting, or gluing are not going to work... obviously. Instead, look for activities that incorporate digital interaction such as annotation, dragging and dropping, typing, or clickable buttons.

And because I cannot resist a clear and concise comparison graphic to sum it all up:

Comparison chart for the features of teletherapy activities and resources

There we have it! Next time you find yourself in need of a new teletherapy activity (AKA frantically searching the bottomless pit of resources on TpT for JUST the right thing), keep these considerations in mind.

Even if you're making some resources yourself, make sure not to waste your valuable time. Create activities that are teletherapy platform-friendly, engage your students, and include virtual interaction.

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