I was a traveling speech pathologist until about 6 weeks ago. I LOVE being a mobile therapist. ( I even wrote a blog post about it.) But six weeks ago, that all stopped. No more high fives. No more hugs. No more actual REAL human contact. And, if that wasn’t enough, I had to become a teletherapist. I know there are lots of teletherapists out there that do this everyday. I admire them. I admire their abilities. But I am not one of them. Since I started conducting therapy sessions online, I have come to some realizations. So here are my confessions.
I feel like a freaking failure. I typically question myself in my job day to day. I think that comes with the territory. “Are my goals still appropriate for this kid?” “Charlie’s really struggling with making that /k/ sound. What is a better way for me to teach it to him?” “Am I REALLY doing everything I can for this kid?” These are everyday thoughts that run through me head…sometimes at night when I WAS dead asleep. Other times, they come in the shower.
But now? I have all of those thoughts and MORE! These extra thoughts are much more negative and speak much louder. I am usually a pretty positive and optimistic person. Right now, it takes more effort to be positive. Why? Because I feel like I truly suck as a therapist. That is about as blunt and “to the point” as I can get without cursing. (After all, this is a family friendly blog!) “If only I was there, I could have…” is a CONSTANT thought in my head after EVERY session. Because I can’t be there in person, I feel helpless. Then the feeling of guilt and, you guessed it, ultimate “I suck.” (Insert all the fab Rachel Hollis pick me ups here!!)
The tech part drives me crazy just like it does my families. I went through 5 different platforms before I finally found Webex. FIVE ya’ll!!! Over the course of two weeks, I dealt with just about every tech glitch you could have. My first thought of the morning was “Well, how bad will it be today?” Combine confession #1 with confession #2 and you would think I was hiding in a corner, crying…like ugly, “snot streaming down my face” crying. Fortunately, there’s a dollar store not far from house with plenty of chocolate and caffeine. Over the course of the last 4 weeks, I have learned some things. I am not perfect or a tech guru but at least I am no longer cramming my pie hole with copious amounts of candy bars! However, my education in tech still doesn’t get rid of confession #1.
I miss my crafts! Springtime is when we do a lot of fun crafts! Ladybugs, butterfly puppets, handprint flowers for mom, baseballs out of paper plates, we do it all. In an effort to keep things low maintenance on the parents’ end, I have sacrificed my crafts. I miss all of the language we use will we are cutting and gluing or painting. I. MISS. ALL. OF. IT!
I don’t know what I am doing. I not a tech person. I didn’t even watch YouTube videos before this! I did not know what BOOM cards were. Zoom? That’s something I do in my car everyday, right? Aside from the actual act of doing speech therapy, I have not a freaking clue what I am doing. I still don’t know how to make digital interactive PDFs to keep on my Ipad. I really don’t even know if I can add a virtual background in Webex. I still haven’t figured out how to turn my Ipad into a document camera or share it to my desktop. I even bought the stupid connector on Amazon! I don’t know everything about GOOGLE Classroom. I am sure there are more things that I don’t know how to do but that’s what comes to mind right now. When I am traveling to clients, I don’t have to worry about this crap! ( I use the word lightly. Not trying to offend anyone.)
I truly appreciate every family that chose to stay with me and give teletherapy a try. I know the overwhelm of trying to figure everything out is hard, especially if you have more than one kiddo at home trying to learn. It was already a stressful time when we started at the end of March. Everyone of my families was scrambling to figure out Google Classrooms, Zoom, and so many other online resources for their children. But I will always value the fact that they added me to their workload. ALWAYS!
As you can tell teletherapy has not been an easy ride. I assume it has been a tough ride for most of us who are accustomed to “in person” therapy. But SLPs are flexible. We think on our feet. We go outside of the box for many of our clients. So of course, COVID-19 just provided us with another “opportunity” to be flexible, think on our feet, and outside of the box.
But SLPs are flexible. We think on our feet. We go outside of the box for many of our clients. So of course, COVID-19 just provided up with another “opportunity” to be flexible, think on our feet, and out of the box.Tweet
I miss my kids! I know I see many of them through the computer. But I miss them!!! I miss their sweet families. I miss traveling to their homes. I miss the smell of a candle a certain parent always burns. I miss seeing the things they are doing at home. I miss smelling my after school kids’ dinners cooking in the oven. (I know that last one may sound weird and a bit stalker-ish. But I get some good recipes that way!) I miss driving to one of my little friends’ houses and seeing all the new baby animals. Once again, I. MISS. ALL. OF. IT!!!
I am still working on giving myself some grace. Some days I do well. Other days, not so great. You can check out my post about grace here.