There are often many questions when considering or beginning a telehealth program. Please find answers to the most commonly asked questions below.
Q: What does telehealth therapy look like?
A: With your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you will log into the online therapy room at the scheduled time using a link provided by our scheduling team. Our provider will be ready, in front of his/her device remotely. This provider will be perfectly matched to support your child’s specific areas of need and trained to engage him or her in meaningful instructional activities, which will also be fun and enjoyable. This provider may have seen your child for in-clinic or in-home sessions already or may be meeting you and your child for the first time.
Q: Are telehealth therapy sessions really effective?
A: Yes! Online services are extremely effective. In fact, research studies show that telehealth therapy services help children make progress on their goals at the same rate as services delivered in person. Our team is trained and will provide the recipe for a child’s success by combining compassion with out-of-the-box thinking. Their extensive experience, combined with our training program and resource library of evidence-based activities, makes therapy fun, functional, and effective. Click here to see a sample of research studies that show the effectiveness of telehealth as a means of delivering care.
Q: What kind of technology do I need to get started?
A: A laptop, tablet, or smartphone with a webcam, as well as headphones with a microphone, are recommended to support quality interaction with your providers. Our telehealth system is a video conferencing software called Zoom. This telehealth software system complies with FERPA and HIPAA guidelines to ensure privacy. An adult will need to be present to initiate the call. Click here to see how to get started with Zoom in three easy steps.
Q: Is there anything else I need? Supplies?
A: While our team already has many of the visuals and therapy activities, it will be helpful to have a pencil/paper or whiteboard/dry erase marker in close proximity. On occasion, a parent or caregiver will be asked to print a document ahead of time. We also use items that are commonly found around the classroom or house. Our team will work closely with you to gather the appropriate supplies prior to or during a telehealth session.
Q: How do I know if my child is making progress?
A: Our ongoing documentation and data analysis allow us to consistently measure your child’s progress. We believe that collaboration with parents and caregivers is key to that progress, so we’ll be engaging you in frequent discussions about goal attainment, supports, and strategies. We will also follow up with additional suggestions for activities throughout the week. From the moment you and your child log on, we are continuously addressing goals and monitoring progress.
Q: What are the benefits of doing therapy online?
A: There are many benefits to online therapy, which include:
- Ability to complete therapeutic tasks in a child's natural environment
- Generalization of skills across environments
- New and fun experiences while making therapeutic progress
- Increased team communication
- Flexible scheduling
- Option to engage with your provider virtually, which may be more comfortable for some and foster greater engagement
- Decreased cost and time related to transportation
Q: What if my child does not want to participate in any of the activities?
A: While we can’t say this never happens, it is a rare occurrence. Our children are growing up in a digital environment that is second nature for them. We promote participation by making sure activities provide “just the right challenge” and are interesting. We also can weave in positive reinforcement through behavioral supports. Further, we can control the online environment to promote each child’s success. In the event that your child does not want to participate, we can assist you in trying out strategies to support your child in that moment.
Q: Are there individuals who are not good candidates for online therapy?
A: Our primary goal is to set our clients up for success, which means empowering them to grow and learn both in the therapy session and on their own. We take each individual’s abilities and needs into account when determining if online therapy is appropriate. We encourage and expect active participation from the caregiver to help your child attend and engage. This also helps us to collaborate with you to generalize skills in the home in a meaningful way. We can also assist our clients by consulting and training families on how to help their child. We will support every child and their family in any way we can! We look forward to learning about your preferences and goals in these sessions.
Q: Do you conduct assessments?
A: The best assessment addresses your family’s concerns and identifies your child’s needs. Our aim is to learn more about your child in order to facilitate progress. We are generally able to conduct telehealth assessments for all of our therapy services. Depending on the type of therapy, the assessment may include different components. Formal, standardized assessments can be done online for speech therapy, as these tests have been formed for online administration. For our other disciplines, we can perform dynamic assessments, parent interviews, data analysis, and questionnaires to determine areas of need for your child. Everything we do is individualized to your child and your family's needs and goals.
Q: Does online therapy comply with industry requirements?
A: Yes, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) was one of the first governing agencies to affirm the use of online therapy services to provide therapy. Since then, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), and the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) have recognized the use of the online delivery model. The Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) also recognizes telehealth as a mode of ABA service provision. Telehealth counseling and psychotherapy are widely accepted as a treatment modality among state and national associations for psychology, social work, and marriage-family therapy. Our Family Wellness Counselors follow additional guidelines and regulations that are appropriate for their services. Particularly during challenges similar to what we are facing with COVID-19, governing bodies and insurers are working proactively to provide continuity of care for families who cannot access in-person services.
Q: Are sessions monitored for quality?
A: Yes, our leadership team supports each of our therapists by observing sessions periodically and with regular mentoring. This ensures the best quality of therapy for our clients and also helps our team to continue to grow and learn. Privacy is respected and families will always be asked if they are comfortable with another provider observing prior to the observation. Cortica also encourages collaboration and ongoing feedback to ensure every child’s progress. Additionally, we may ask a family to allow us to record a session to provide training opportunities and feedback to therapists, and also to document baseline data and progress. As with any therapy, there are potential risks, including challenges related to technology, the need for additional precautions to ensure privacy and confidentiality, and variation from person to person in their response to therapy.
Q: How is privacy and confidentiality ensured?
A: Our online platform is a secure platform that complies with established FERPA and HIPAA guidelines. Our team is licensed and credentialed and goes through an extensive background check.
Q: How are you different from other online service providers?
A: Our combination of passion, compassion, and experience sets us apart. We're devoted to always doing what's right for each client while recognizing their competence and supporting their challenges. Our team actively completes ongoing education courses to make sure we are at the forefront of this exciting path of hope and progress. Whether sessions take place in-person or online, our services are comprehensive and multidisciplinary, meaning you can find neurology, family counseling, speech, occupational, physical, music therapies and more all in one place. Combine this with our well-established experience in both the science of therapy and online instruction, and we believe you will find us uniquely qualified to support your needs.
Q: How will the Neurological Evaluation be conducted via telehealth?
A: A family's first visit with us is an appointment called the Neurodevelopmental Evaluation. During this visit, you and your child will meet with a Cortica Medical Provider to begin building our relationship and to identify any underlying biological or neurological conditions that might impact development. The neurological exam assesses the following:
- Mental Status (level of arousal, attention, receptive language, expressive language, sensitivity to stimuli, processing speed, memory, judgment)
- Cranial Nerves (pupillary response, extraocular movements, facial movements, visual fields, quality of vocalizations)
- Motor (muscle bulk, muscle tone, strength, motor planning, motor patterns)
- Reflexes (deep tendon reflexes of the upper and lower extremities, primitive reflexes, clonus, Babinski response)
- Sensory (hypersensitivities, sensory-seeking behavior, proprioception, signs of sensory integration difficulties)
- Coordination/Cerebellar (incoordination, tremor, posturing, speed, balance)
- Gait (base, stride, arm swing, posture, rhythm, timing, stressed gait maneuvers)
When this visit is done by telehealth, the above domains of the neurological exam are assessed through observation. Certain components cannot be done by telehealth, such as examining the deep tendon reflexes. However, the vast majority of the exam can be done by watching videos of your child engaged in certain activities or by observing your child complete certain tasks during the telehealth visit. Any components of the exam that cannot be done by telehealth and are felt by your medical provider to be important for diagnosis and treatment planning can be done at your first in-person follow-up visit.