Mental Health 101: Tips For Effective Teletherapy Sessions For People With Autism

With the continuous advancement of technology, a lot of sectors have tried to maximize its use. One particular area where digital has become beneficial is in mental health, mainly through teletherapy. 

Teletherapy has become huge in this world. More and more people resorted to this approach due to its accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and preference. Even individuals under the autism spectrum tried this service, but many continue to debate whether this is advisable or not.

To ensure that teletherapy’s utmost effectiveness for people with autism, here are some tips you can apply as a parent. 

Limit Distractions

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Keep in mind that those individuals under the autism spectrum are very sensitive when it comes to distractions. Sensory-rich environments easily capture their attention. With this, they instantly lose their focus. 

Therefore, one way to ensure that the teletherapy session goes smoothly is to discuss in a calming and quiet space. Do not put them in a room with people talking and full of play devices. You may also try considering the colors in your area. For instance, bright colors distract those with autism easily, and they tend to stare at it once in a while. 

Do not also put them in an area where they can hear the television or radio. Make sure that they are in a quiet room. If there are different noises,  they are likely to be distracted and unable to take in their sessions fully. 

Include Teletherapy In Their Schedule

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Believe it or not, those with autism want their schedules organized. Their minds get so chaotic if they are faced with the unknown. Therefore, you need to disclose that teletherapy is a part of their schedule at the start of the day. This way, they get to prepare their minds and set aside their expectations. 

Do not forget to remind them of the schedule throughout the day. If the session is in the late afternoon, make sure to run through their schedule again at lunch. 

Brief The Therapist With Your Child’s Likes And Dislikes

As a parent, you must brief your therapist with your child’s likes and dislikes before the session. Through this, it will be easier for them to know what approach to use to their client. It is essential to keep this in mind since children with autism may have a hard time going back to their focus once they get irritated with whom they’re talking. 

For instance, several teletherapy platforms offer stickers as a way to engage their clients. Some even show brief videos of cartoons that will help them gain the child’s trust and get their full participation. Rest assured that therapists have the right knowledge of what is suitable for your child. 

Understand The Game Plan

As a parent, it is your responsibility to do the follow-through after the session. Unlike face-to-face talks, teletherapy might not capture your child’s emotions fully. It might be hard for them to open up in front of the computer.

Therefore, there is only so much the therapist can do. They can only set the foundation, but building the path towards good mental health is in your hands. 

The best way to go about this is to ask your therapist about the direction they want to go. Then, let them instruct you how you can help at home. Make sure to continue collaborating with them to ensure the progress of your child. Some of the things that you should know include the following: 

  • Is there something that you should change in your parenting skills?
  • Should you push with visual or conversational therapy?
  • Are there any special care needs that should be implemented in the household?
  • How will you empower the child?
  • Should you go out of your way when it comes to task-specific praises?
  • How will you go about giving them directions?

These are just some starter questions. Make sure to understand more in-depth on how you can assist your child outside teletherapy. 

Fix The Technicals

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We can’t avoid technical issues when it comes to technology. The only way to reduce the possibility of messing up is to be proactive in these issues.

First of all, determine the best spot in the room for your Wi-Fi connection. If you feel that the connection is a bit erratic, you may opt to connect it to your hotspot or use an ethernet cable. Disconnecting issues will only make your child lose his or her focus. 

Also,  make sure that the monitor is on eye level. Always remember that socialization is critical for people with autism. To establish their trust with the one they’re talking to, they should be able to make eye contact and see their facial expressions. If they don’t fully see their therapist, it would be difficult for them to connect. 

Consider using a computer stand to secure your webcam is at eye level. This will ensure that their socialization skills are at its best. 

This new therapy setup may work wonders, especially with the realities that we have now. However, to make it more effective, the parents’ support is of the utmost importance.