AZ+A TELEHEALTH FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
A New Way to Learn & Grow
AZ+A Telehealth and Teletherapy offers online occupational therapy services delivered through online channels as a service for remote areas, to complement in-clinic therapy or used as a temporary replacement (when necessary) to in-person sessions. At Amy Zier and Associates we bring occupational therapists and clients together when outside circumstances keep us apart. Live video sessions are provided through a personal computer, iPad, or smartphone via secure, HIPAA-approved platforms. AZ+A therapists and designated family members are present in real time for real time interaction and connection.
Telehealth uses Zoom and/or Cisco Webex platforms – (similar technology as FaceTime or Skype). A link is sent to your email prior to your sessions. You will be provided an alternative way to contact your OT should technology issues arise during the virtual therapy session.
You will need:
• an internet connection
• a quiet space
• a table or chair in order to stay within camera view
Benefits of occupational teletherapy includes:
• Providing telehealth in Chicago and throughout rural Illinois communities allows providers like AZ+A to increase access to occupational therapy. Finding specialized treatment or therapy can be challenges for those living in rural and remote areas. The introduction of telehealth connects clinicians with citizens throughout the state in impactful ways.
• Convenience and continuity of care regardless of outside influences; distance, weather, illness, schedules, travel, or infectious exposure. Stay home, stay safe, and stay in your pajamas if you want – teletherapy brings meaningful treatment to the comfort of your own home.
• By experiencing telehealth sessions, it allows the child and therapist to experience his/her home environment during sessions. This allows for new and nuanced interactions with self-led and self-regulated experiences while creating a continuity and stability of continued sessions.
Children are accustomed to interacting with technology and respond well to teletherapy. The screens are a conduit between the therapist and child/family as they facilitate therapeutic play with toys* and games that the child has access to in the home. This practice helps increase carryover of skills outside of the therapy session. Utilizing their own toys and household items minimizes materials that parents are required to supply. Telemedicine occupational therapy offers a clinically advantageous means of engaging clients and caregivers in the therapeutic process within their own environment.
* Toys may be recommended but the purchase of new toys is not required. Prior to each appointment, parents receive a therapy plan so that they know what to expect during each session.
Telemedicine occupational therapy encourages the principles of coaching and family empowerment. Parents and/or caregivers a key component of therapy, especially when it comes to toddlers. Parents and therapists collaborate on a an individualized telehealth strategy based on your child’s profile.
During the actual sessions, a parent can log on to the session and then can sit with their child (if recommended) while their therapist works through the session. If there are materials that are needed for the session, they are either shared on-screen or sent via email before the session.
The acceptance of telehealth has grown in many states. Talk with your OT provider and your insurance company to determine if telehealth can be billed to your insurance. In recent months, with the onset of COVID-19, some insurance policies and companies have expanded Telemedicine coverage to help with social distancing. Please check with your provider for your individual plan and coverage.
Speech and language therapy and occupational therapy for toddlers and young children is focused on providing ample parent education and modeling. Teletherapy for toddlers is very similar. During the sessions, our AZ+A therapists guide the child and family through therapeutic activities. We have worked with parents and young children through 12 via Telehealth as well as facilitated small group sessions for children. Our therapists are trained and continue to train in this type of practice.
Treatment frequency is determined based on the family and client needs. Typically, children that are 4 years old and younger benefit from shorter but more frequent therapy sessions. In contrast, older children can participate and benefit from longer sessions. Your therapist collaborates with you to determine a plan works best for your child.
During the COVID19 pandemic, we are completing online evaluations with families to start treatment during a time when emotional and developmental support is more important than ever. After that initial visit, a schedule can be set up just like we would a traditional in-clinic visit and establish a treatment plan. Typically, we recommend an initial visit or two in-clinic to establish rapport and to confirm that teletherapy as a good option for a particular child.
AZ+A therapists discuss ongoing progress with families in Chicago and rural Illinois to ensure success and make adjustments to treatment plans as needed. We use a variety of Telehealth treatment methods to help the progress of therapy and work to ensure continued growth and development. Please discuss any concerns or changes with your OT. We are committed to providing the best treatment options for the care for your child
Teletherapy is endorsed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).