Virtual is the New Reality for Therapy

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

I was shocked to see the worldwide prevalence of COVID-19 in such a short timespan. So many have been severely affected, both mentally and physically. I quickly realised that outpatient services could not see patients face-to-face; instead, we could conduct telephone consultations, to ensure the safety of patients and their families. Everyday I used to call our patient’s families, checking on their well-being and providing strategies and advice over the phone. It worked well for a few weeks, but families were not as satisfied as they could be...

Challenging behaviour and sensory difficulties were getting worse among children, likely due to being kept at home and feeling helpless. Parents were struggling to effectively motivate their kids at home, stressed out with many other responsibilities.

One day I shared an idea with my husband about making videos with my son and sharing them with parents, for their reference. Considering the situation, I kept my activities simple and made sure they could be completed using materials readily available at home. This could be helpful for both parents and their kids. We made a series of videos and started sharing them with parents.

Then we thought it would make sense to keep all the videos in one place, and my husband initiated a YouTube channel called 'Kioskid'. So far we are getting a good number of responses and views. The initial video responses motivated us to make more and continue sharing them, keeping in mind the goal of engaging kids at home - safely, happily and therapeutically.

We have 8 senses in our bodies:

  • Vision

  • Hearing

  • Taste

  • Smell

  • Touch

  • Proprioception

  • Vestibular

  • Interoception

Lifestyle changes related to coronavirus may affect these senses, leading to dysregulation within our children. This can affect them in many ways, including distractibility, meltdowns, stress, aggression, or burnout. As a result of physiological or cognitive changes, children with COVID-19 may therefore have difficulty engaging in everyday activities independently.

Occupational therapists can work with people to develop strategies to facilitate continued access to their occupations. Circumstances to consider include (but are not limited to) individual, family, community, social and environmental. I aim to enhance, enable and empower young people’s participation in daily tasks. This can be assisted through the inclusion of sensory activities in their day-to-day life, helping children adapt to life's challenges. As occupational therapists, we can increase their independence, drawing on strategies, home planning, sensory diets and telehealth. I believe our role is crucial, as many children are currently struggling with anxiety. To cope, they need help to work on their routine, gross motor activity, physical activity, play, fine motor skills and sensory balance.

Occupational therapy is a creative discipline. I believe its applicability and practicality has no boundaries; our scope is vast...

For parents who need expertise or specialist teams to support their children, the current situation can be disabling. Therapists must therefore adapt, making arrangements as per the needs and availability of clients. It’s time to view things differently and help parents fighting through the pandemic!

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