Learner-Driven Telepractice Learn some tips for adapting your telepractice to tap a variety of learning modalities. Make It Work
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Make It Work  |   June 01, 2018
Learner-Driven Telepractice
Author Notes
  • Tracy Sippl, MS, CCC-SLP, is the clinical manager of online therapy delivery for Therapy Source, Inc., and clinical supervisor for Advanced Travel Therapy. She is a member of the Coordinating Committee of ASHA Special Interest Group 18, Telepractice. ptsipp@yahoo.com
    Tracy Sippl, MS, CCC-SLP, is the clinical manager of online therapy delivery for Therapy Source, Inc., and clinical supervisor for Advanced Travel Therapy. She is a member of the Coordinating Committee of ASHA Special Interest Group 18, Telepractice. ptsipp@yahoo.com×
Article Information
Make It Work
Make It Work   |   June 01, 2018
Learner-Driven Telepractice
The ASHA Leader, June 2018, Vol. 23, 34-35. doi:10.1044/leader.MIW.23062018.34
The ASHA Leader, June 2018, Vol. 23, 34-35. doi:10.1044/leader.MIW.23062018.34
When you work with children, do they sometimes respond best to pictures and demonstrations—and at other times to rhymes and finger play? Children may prefer one type of activity over another, but research indicates that children learn best when information is presented in different learning modalities.
However, using multisensory techniques—those that appeal to a student’s auditory, visual, kinesthetic and tactile senses—to teach concepts of space (for example, above/below), time (later), number (several) and quality (best) can be challenging when speech-language treatment is delivered remotely.
Visual (or spatial) activities appeal to students’ sense of sight. Visual learning is the retention of information by observing demonstrations and visualizing information.
The key to engaging visual activities is to provide age-appropriate visual cues and imagery. Typing information or drawing a diagram on your on-screen whiteboard during sessions works well, as does sharing photos, maps and other images. Check the resource box on page 35 for websites I find particularly useful for providing visually stimulating telepractice services related to difficult-to-illustrate concepts such as space, time and quality.

Allow students short motor breaks—have them stand on one foot or do some jumping jacks.

When you teach vocabulary, bring up a Google image or a YouTube video, or draw a semantic word map to present the vocabulary. Working on grammar? Create sentences using icons to represent the vocabulary word as you type the sentence on your on-screen whiteboard.
Photos of children on the playground work well to address verb tenses. Working on articulation? Use an image of a person putting their finger to their lips to tell someone to be quiet, calling it the “shush” sound or “quiet-down” sound.
Auditory activities convey information verbally, engaging students in talking about ideas, thoughts and concerns. Auditory activities would include short lectures (no more than 10 minutes) followed by verbal interaction.
Students often retain information more accurately when they discuss it with others. For example, in their 2014 meta-analysis of more than 168 studies of undergraduate students, David Johnson and colleagues established that students learning in a collaborative environment had greater knowledge acquisition, retention of material, and higher-order problem-solving and reasoning abilities than students working alone.
Talk about vocabulary words and what they mean, create musical jingles and/or mnemonics to aid memorization, and use verbal analogies and/or storytelling to demonstrate something you are trying to explain. Have students tell others what they read and have the listener check to see if the speaker was correct.
For younger students, rhymes, chants, finger plays and songs are useful. You may need to repeat directions for some students, while others can easily follow directions after being told only once or twice. Other children may perform better when there is white noise or soft music in the background.
Kinesthetic/tactile (or sensory) activities involve body movement—for example, molding a piece of clay while learning a new concept. Despite the digital nature of telepractice, you can find ways to include tactile activities in sessions.
If the student’s screen height and angle are adjustable, raise the screen so the student can stand up during your sessions. Even allow the student to chew gum if that’s helpful—unless you’re working on articulation.
Allow students short motor breaks—have them stand on one foot or do some jumping jacks. Directing them to draw or copy information is helpful, as is highlighting main ideas and important facts in text.

Using graphic note-taking methods and creating word maps, concept trees, or timelines incorporates visual and auditory learning modalities.

Multiple learning modalities may be incorporated into treatment activities. For example, using graphic note-taking methods (such as graphic organizers) and creating word maps, concept trees or timelines (have the student fill in the blanks) incorporates visual and auditory learning modalities.
In articulation treatment, you could attach visuals to the sound the student is working on: Drawing a “snake” in the shape of the letter “s” as you say the “hissing” sound incorporates visual, auditory and kinesthetic/tactile modalities. For a middle or high school activity that incorporates all modalities, ask students to take notes by typing or writing down information. Have them write vocabulary words on index cards with the definition on the back. Ask them, while screen-sharing a paragraph of text, to highlight the main idea or important facts you want them to remember.
Students may prefer a particular method, but all students use—and retain information—through all learning modalities. As a telepractitioner, you can incorporate multimodal strategies into your sessions.
Try These Websites for Visual and Auditory Ideas
Visual modality
Auditory modality
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FROM THIS ISSUE
June 2018
Volume 23, Issue 6