Lifestart’s strong commitment to building inclusive communities is reflected through the everyday work of our staff with children and young people with disability. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lifestart is offering therapy and supports online. Recently, we spoke to Julia Bye, Project Officer Client Services, about how online supports work and what the benefits are. This is what she had to say:
Is it hard to set up an Online Support?
No, it is very easy. Zoom is very user-friendly. The host sets up the meeting and invites other people. Everyone else can simply just click on a link or just a code if they want to.
Are Online Supports as good as face-to-face supports?
Yes. In fact, in some ways online supports can be even better than face-to-face appointments. The child is in their own environment with the people they are familiar with. The therapist can ‘coach’ the parent/carers so they learn new skills that they might not have picked up if they were observing the therapist do it themselves with the child.
What do you enjoy about delivering Online Supports?
Thinking of fun and funny ways to interact with the child through the screen. I love making young kids giggle by playing peek a boo, blowing bubbles at the camera, reading a book to them, getting them to show me some of their favourite toys, etc.
What are some outcomes you have achieved through delivering Online Supports?
I’ve been able to teach parents some great skills in facilitating their child’s communication. One mother learned the power of using the toys they already had and making the most out of the games/routines they were already doing. She had no idea that such simple activities could be part of ‘therapy’ and could make such a difference to her child’s language when she used them in a focused way. It’s also been great to show parents when their child is over-excited and doesn’t respond perfectly that it’s ok and you can follow their lead and make the most of what they actually are interested in at that moment.