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Zoom: What your therapist would like you to know

Following government advice, Out Loud Developmental Services stopped in person sessions on Wed 25th March 2020, moving all home, school and clinic sessions to the online platform Zoom and becoming "Out Loud Online".

We wanted to say a big thanks to our clients and families for being so awesome with sessions via Telehealth. This is a service model we had planned to roll out during the year to give our families extra options, but COVID-19 had plans for a much faster time scale!

Things we've found about Zoom:

- this is new and a little scary for us too with the flexibility, quick learning skills and general awesomeness of the Out Loud team really shining through at this time

- Zoom offers some fantastic features and we're really enjoying being online

- we are feeling very blessed to still see our clients at a time when our contact with others is limited

- some kids actually love us more when we are on a screen!!!

Preparing for Zoom

- talk to your child about what a Zoom therapy session will look like and discuss rules about using Zoom such as speaking clearly, looking at the screen and listening to the therapist

- try to avoid dragging your child away from really fun activities to do a Zoom session

- if your therapist has asked you to have toys or activities ready for Zoom, gather these before the call starts. Like all sessions, Zoom sessions are limited to a set amount of time and it's best not to use that setting up (if possible).

- we want sessions to be as much fun as possible - if you have any ideas on ways to interact over the screen, please let us know.

- you don't need to download the Zoom program to your computer or the Zoom app to your device(an option should appear for you to 'open in your browser')

- you don't need to create an account to use the Zoom link we send you (but you are welcome to create one).

- think about things that you can use to reward your child at the end of the session. We miss being able to give stickers or stamps to reward a good job.

Setting up a space for Zoom

- set up your technology so your child's head is on the screen - we want to see them as much as possible

- choose seating that gives your child the most stable position. This may not be the dining room table. Your child may be more comfortable on the floor, in a beanbag or at a small table.

- choose the most suitable spot in your house that's the closest to the WiFi router. Poor signal makes it harder to provide a Zoom therapy session.

- lighting is important - we don't want your child to be in shadow. A desk lamp can easily help with this and avoiding the screen facing a window is also helpful.

- think about what background noises might be going on in your house during the Zoom call (dishwasher, TV in another room, siblings)

- please don't let your child wander around the house with the iPad (unless this is part of the activity).  We don't want our therapists getting motion sick!

Make sure to take the pressure off yourself

- you don't need to clean your house ready for a Zoom session with us, we are only looking at your child

- you don't need to dress up for us, pyjamas for therapy are perfectly acceptable

- there are likely to be other things going on at your house. It can sometimes work really well to have siblings and pets involved in your session, so check with your therapist if you'd like to try this.

- it can also be very distracting for some kids to have their sibling trying to join in (or take over their session). Consider if you need to set up a play space or activity to keep siblings occupied while you and your child join the therapist over Zoom.

- relying on technology can offer some challenges. If you have any technical difficulties, please don't hesitate to call your therapist who can help you problem solve.

And lastly, don't worry if your child isn't perfectly behaved when using Zoom. We are all undergoing a significant amount of change, and it's all happening so quickly. Being comfortable with Zoom, the rules of online therapy sessions and sitting for a long period of time in front of a screen may take a little longer for some clients.

If you feel Zoom sessions aren't working for your family, please call us to discuss other ways we can support your child during this time.

You may like to use Zoom to give your child a way to connect with family & friends during this period of isolation. Keeping up social connections is important for our mental health. Remember to practice good cyber safety strategies. For more information on cyber safety, visit the eSafety Commission website (click here).

Please be assured that we take client privacy very seriously and have enabled all security features of Zoom to protect the families we see online. Each meeting has a unique ID, password protection, a virtual waiting room where we approve who enters the meeting and end-to-end encryption. We will seek your permission if we would like to record the session.

See you soon on a screen near you!

The Out Loud Team

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