School-Based Teletherapy for PT’s

Make Your School-Based Teletherapy Program a Success

As a PT, you can help bring fun and excitement to your school-based teletherapy sessions using online movement songs and videos via screen sharing.  You’ll be able to see what your student is doing, if they stay in view. Getting set up for optimal viewing from the get-go is key, so work with your student and or their parent to find the boundaries of what you can see on your screen.  You won’t have all of your toys and tricks there during sessions, so that means focusing on activities that require minimal equipment or things most students will have at home. Discussing what toys (games, puzzles, balls, jump ropes etc.) the family has available for use during sessions.

Here are just a few examples of some of the Youtube content we found: 

Online movement and dance videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/MovetoLearnMS

Yoga video library for kids:  https://www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga

HIIT workout for kids:

Incorporating Core Strengthening Activities

When it comes to working on core strengthening, think about using weight-bearing, static positions, such as high kneel, quadruped or prone on elbows, so that you can get some core activation during an activity.  For example, if the family has blocks or legos available, the student can build a tower in one of these positions. If you are working on core stability, incorporate an activity that requires distal stability.

Don’t forget the old favorites:  The Superman, the Crab Walk, the Bear Crawl, planking.  Here’s a few suggestions for making these activities fresh and new for home.

Superman

Little boy demonstrating superman pose, laying on his stomach with his arms, chest, and legs lifted. Have the student lay on his stomach on the floor and try to lift his arms up off of the floor so that his upper chest comes up too. 

How to Change it Up:

  • Can he lift his legs off the ground?  How about arms and legs at the same time?  You can incorporate a song or Simon says into this.
  • Can he hold a ball between his hands or his feet while lifting up?
  • Have the child place a stuffed animal on his back and see if he can complete this exercise with enough control to keep the animal from falling.
  • Make it fun by having the child reach up to a parent or sibling handing them pieces of a puzzle or to place stickers on the wall.

Crab Walk 

Little boy is demonstrating crab walk, his arms and legs planted on the ground and his body lifted upward. Child is face up with only hands and feet touching the ground. 

How to Change it Up:

  • For extra work on core stability and body awareness, have child place something on his belly and see if he can crab walk without it falling off.
  • Need to incorporate academics? Crab walk to complete a number or letter sequence, for example, do a crab dance…lift one hand up and hold it for 5.  Or, practice following directions for left and left and right.

More Suggestions for Strengthening Activities in the Home

  • Little girl demonstrating modified plank, with feet on the couch and her hands planted on the ground. Use weighted objects such as grocery bags (doubled up for strength!) with cans inside
  • Use big, floppy stuffed animals on kids’ legs for leg lifts
  • Incorporate step stools for step ups (with parent supervision if needed) Incorporate solid stable furniture. For example:
    • Feet on couch to do bridges and planking 
    • Hands on couch for modified push ups
    • Use chairs and couches for high kneeling activities

Hand to Foot Toss:  

Woman laying on yoga mat demonstrating hand to foot toss with yoga ball. What you’ll need:

  • Stuffed animal(s), beanbags, or small pillows 

What to do:

Have children lying on their backs with their feet straight up in the air. The object of the activity is for kids to pass the stuffed animal/beanbag/pillow back and forth between their hands and their feet! If parent is there you can have them pick the animals off the floor with their feet and pass them to their mom or dad (or sibling)standing by their head.

Puzzle Sit ups:

What you’ll need:

  • Puzzle or blocks

Have child lay on his back.  Place puzzle pieces above the head and puzzle board between his feet.  Grab one piece at a time, sit up, and put into the puzzle board. If you are using blocks, put them above the head and have the child build the highest tower they can at their feet.

Let’s Meet the Challenge Together!

Teletherapy is going to stretch the creativity, and probably the patience, of school-based physical therapists across the country, but the benefits far outweigh the costs. This is an opportunity to build your skills as well as incorporate your students’ families by teaching them new activities. By increasing the engagement of family members, we will see more carryover of therapeutic activities in the home—and there is a lot of long-term benefit to that! If you’re looking for more ideas for parents and families, come visit our free parent and teacher resource libraries at www.mypts.com

For tips on setting up your school-based teletherapy for success, check out our blog, An Intro to School-Based Teletherapy: Set Up for Success!, for all the tools and tips you’ll need!

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