Education and Parenting: Online Speech and Language Therapy, Part one

speech therapist guest blogger Marsha Boyer, woman with shoulder length brown hair, glasses and warm smileI am pleased to introduce speech-language pathologist Marsha Boyer as today’s “Education and Parenting” guest blogger. The owner of Speech Connections, Inc in Indianapolis, Marsha has seen countless Changes in the Speech and Language therapy field over her 27-year career. ”But the year 2020 has brought a new meaning to the word ‘change,’” she says, describing in this guest post how she, the children she serves and their parents are managing the switch from face-to-face therapy to tele-therapy.

by Marsha Boyer, M.A.,CCC-SLP

After Governor Eric Holcomb directed Indiana schools to close back in March, I got to work structuring online sessions that would be as close to the face-to-face appointment structure as possible. The number of children in my private practice caseload pales compared to my counter parts in the school setting, but I do encounter young children with hearing loss and hearing aids, children with genetic syndromes, Apraxia, stuttering, and Autism, to name a few.

These children typically have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) identifying deficits their speech language pathologist have determined are impacting the child’s education. Things were changing so quickly in March that I only had one short weekend to plan for the switch from face-to-face therapy style to online. Granted,one weekend is not enough time to wrap your head around providing quality services under a completely new structure, but I felt compelled to do what I could. School therapy was non-existent while school systems drew up policies and procedures for tele-therapy, and my clients needed to keep momentum going with their speech and language goals.

Many face to face therapy routines I’ve used for years vanished into thin air when we switched to tele-therapy. Without being able to work together physically and manipulate objects together, what would we talk about? How would I help clients who need tactile guidance to show them how to make a sound or to explore a toy? I needed high-interest lessons and activities. Educational videos and songs, too.

Where to find these? Go to the experts: fellow speech-language pathologists!

While searching for online therapy materials and creative lessons, I came across a Facebook group of speech-language pathologists who had been tele-therapists even before the pandemic. To be successful in this field, you must learn to come up with creative, adaptive ways to teach a skill or engage a child. Their tips and resources were extremely helpful when I was trying to hit the ground running. Thanks in large part to them –and to the children I serve and their parents — I’ve been leading tele-therapy sessions for months now.

Stay tuned for part two of this post, where speech language-pathologist Marsha Boyer shares tips to help parents make the most of their child’s tele-therapy sessions.


Comments may not reflect Easterseals' policies or positions.

  1. Grant Says:

    I think that this could be helpful to a lot of people, well done!

  2. Marilee Says:

    Thank you for taking on the challenge of finding a “new” way to continue helping children who need speech and language therapy. Interested to hear how it is working for you and your clients.

  3. Bev Says:

    Obviously challenging times to find a way to provide help to kids that need it so much. You’re thinking outside the box is exactly what we need right now. Looking forward to hearing more.