Updated: Oct 22
Are you a Speech Language Pathologist/Speech & Language Therapist who is new to tele-therapy? Are you wondering how to deliver good quality speech therapy to clients with aphasia via Zoom or another video-conferencing platform?
Well the really good news is that tele-therapy with an adult client isn't all that different to a face-to-face session. In this blog post, I will discuss 9 speech therapy activities and explain how you can do them via tele-therapy. I'll be referring to Zoom but other platforms also have similar features.
Supported Conversation Strategies for Aphasia via Tele-Therapy
1) Written Choice Communication
Written choice communication is a useful strategy for many people with aphasia, particularly when their ability to read single words is relatively preserved. In a face-to-face session I would use a dry-erase board. In a tele-therapy session via Zoom, I share the whiteboard and write or type on it. Who needs paper or a board when you can use the Zoom whiteboard?
2) Sharing Photos
I always encourage clients with aphasia (especially severe expressive aphasia) to take photos of their activities. Doing so can be a wonderful way to support their communication. One of my clients loves to tell me about the cakes and desserts she has made.
Photos could be emailed to you prior to a tele-therapy session and then shared via Zoom by screen sharing your desktop.
Word-Finding & Comprehension Therapy for Aphasia via Tele-Therapy
When working on naming and comprehension in aphasia, many therapists use apps in face-to-face sessions. You can still use apps via tele-therapy by sharing your iPad screen.
Let's take the Naming Toolbox app as an example. Choose Share Screen iPhone/iPad via Airplay in Zoom (on your laptop or PC). You'll need to turn on Screen Mirroring on your iPad. Then open the app on your iPad.The other person will then be able to see the app on their screen.
3) Guess the Word
Go to the Guess activity in Naming Toolbox. When you go through the different clues at the bottom of the Guess the Word activity, the other person will see and hear the written sentences. They don't need to touch anything! All they have to do is try to name the word in exactly the same way as they would in a face-to-face session. Press the Reveal button so that they can find out if they guessed correctly.
4) Describe the Word
The Describe activity in Naming Toolbox has in-built semantic feature analysis (SFA) cues. Read the cues aloud for the client e.g. What do you do with it?, Where do you find it? etc.
Support them to talk around the word as you would do if you were face-to-face. They'll be able to see each item if you screen share the app and they won't need to touch anything.
5) Spoken/Written Word to Picture Matching
When using an app that works on single-word comprehension such as Comprehension Toolbox, the person with aphasia would touch the tablet screen in a face-to-face session. They can't do this on Zoom. However, if you screen share the app, they will be able to mark the picture they think is correct on the shared screen. You can then press that picture on your iPad for them.
6) News & Other Stories
Narrative Therapy for Aphasia via Tele-Therapy
7) Pixar Short Stories - Narrative Therapy
When doing narrative therapy with clients with aphasia, I love using silent videos such as Pixar Short Stories. If you share your desktop screen in Zoom, you can access Youtube and play videos that your client can see. Another great option for narrative therapy is using personal photos of life events.
Writing Therapy for Aphasia via Tele-Therapy
8) Copy & Recall Treatment
If you have an app with flashcards and the written word or a writing therapy app, display it by sharing your iPad screen. Alternatively you could display the Repeat activity in Naming Toolbox.
Ask the client with aphasia to copy the word three times by typing it in Chat in Zoom, then covering it and typing it again without looking. You could also ask them to physically write the word on paper three times, cover it and then write it again.
9) Functional Writing - Text Messages, Emails
You could read some sentences aloud and ask the person with aphasia to type them in Chat. They may have a set list of functional phrases that they are working on for use in text messages or emails. If you have a file with those phrases, you could open it on your desktop and share your screen.
So there you have it - 9 speech therapy you can do via tele-therapy with clients with aphasia.
How to Screen Share & Use the Whiteboard on Zoom
I suspect you might be wondering how to screen share apps and websites and the whiteboard via Zoom. We'll show you exactly how in our next post.
If you'd like to receive more therapy tips straight to your inbox, sign up for our free monthly e-newsletter.