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Career Advice

Unlocking Opportunities as a Virtual SLP: Insider Tips

Unlocking Opportunities as a Virtual SLP: Insider Tips

Part 2 of 2 of the ASHA Instagram Live Blog Series

By Layla Olive Wohlfeiler, Clinical Manager at Epic Special Education Staffing

In our previous installment of this two-part blog series, we uncovered the exciting opportunities presented by virtual SLP careers. Now, we delve deeper into insider tips aimed at empowering aspiring virtual SLPs to thrive in this dynamic field.

Strategies for Maintaining Client Engagement

Keep Therapy Fun

Maintaining student attention and engagement is a significant challenge for virtual SLPs, but the solution lies in making therapy enjoyable. It’s not uncommon for parents to express concern when their child reports that speech therapy sessions are filled with games. However, this feedback often indicates that the child is enjoying therapy and feeling comfortable, which is essential for progress. I reassure parents by emphasizing that we are actively addressing their child’s speech and language goals, supported by concrete progress data.

By incorporating interactive activities, vibrant visuals, and a multisensory approach, virtual SLPs can create an engaging learning environment. Games tailored to therapy goals can be particularly effective in keeping students focused and motivated. Ultimately, when therapy is enjoyable and effective, students not only participate eagerly but also make significant strides in their speech and language development.

Maintain Structure and Routine

While “routine” may sound boring, it doesn’t have to be that way. When you structure your virtual sessions in a predictable yet fun way for your students, it can help them adjust to learning remotely and keep them engaged. For example, you can incorporate regular movement and brain breaks in your sessions to keep them alert. And if you succeed at making these little breaks fun for the kids, they might even look forward to them each session.

Platforms and Resources for Virtual SLPs

Interactive Websites: One of the best ways to keep students engaged is through virtual games and interactive activities. Here are some websites that not only have fun games but also include great prompts and resources for speech-language therapy:

YouTube: This is a definite go-to for virtual SLPs. You can use videos and clips to teach and explain new concepts to students. There are also some great videos that can help you work on social skills and inferencing. YouTube is also great for story time, as it’ll allow you to rest from speaking all while keeping your student engaged.

Virtual Backgrounds: There are many ways virtual SLPs can keep therapy fun. One thing I’ve discovered is the magic of the green screen. Through a makeshift green screen, you can change your virtual backgrounds to make them more engaging for your students. You can match them with the theme for the day or you can position real objects against your backdrop so that it looks like you’re interacting with your background. 

Being Mindful of Ethical Considerations

As clinicians, maintaining confidentiality and protecting client privacy is crucial, especially on virtual platforms. A recent CE course I attended highlighted the importance of keeping confidential paperwork out of the camera’s view. Virtual SLPs should always check their desk and background before starting sessions to ensure privacy. 

Additionally, we must be mindful of cultural sensitivity and diversity. Virtual settings allow us to reach a wide variety of students from different backgrounds, so it’s essential to be respectful and considerate of their cultures during interactions. This awareness enhances our effectiveness and fosters a more inclusive therapeutic environment.

Maintaining Relationships with In-Person Staff

Effective communication is essential for maintaining relationships with in-person staff. Emails, video calls, phone calls, and texts are all great ways to stay connected with colleagues. At Epic Special Education Staffing, dedicated relationship managers and clinical managers facilitate communication for virtual SLPs. As a clinical manager, I make a point to regularly connect with my virtual SLPs, offering guidance and support throughout their assignment.

We also offer hybrid work setups, allowing SLPs to enjoy the benefits of virtual therapy while occasionally holding in-person sessions. This model helps maintain working relationships with in-person staff and allows SLPs to experience virtual therapy without fully committing to remote work. The hybrid model is a flexible and supportive approach for both new and experienced virtual SLPs.

Gearing Up for the Future as a Virtual SLP

The COVID-19 pandemic catapulted many into the digital world, raising questions about the permanence of virtual therapy. Will demand decrease as society returns to normal? The future of virtual speech therapy, however, appears promising. The benefits it offers to students, school districts, and SLPs ensure its longevity. Technological advancements further enhance its potential.

To gear up for the future, virtual SLPs should stay current with industry trends. This includes understanding how tools like virtual reality and artificial intelligence can improve practice. Embracing these innovations will help virtual SLPs remain effective and adaptable, ensuring continued success in the evolving landscape of speech-language pathology.

Embark on an Adventure as a Virtual SLP

Embrace the exciting world of virtual speech therapy, where innovative therapy and engaging sessions redefine success. By making learning fun, maintaining structured routines, and utilizing cutting-edge resources, you can create meaningful experiences for your clients. Stay ahead of the curve with the latest trends and technologies, and watch your practice as a virtual SLP thrive in this ever-evolving landscape. 

Your adventure as a virtual SLP is just beginning—seize the opportunities and make a lasting impact with Epic Special Education Staffing! Contact us today to learn more!

About the Author

Layla Olive Wohlfeiler, M.S., CCC-SLP is a Clinical Manager with Epic Special Education Staffing. With almost 15 years of experience as a Speech-Language Pathologist working in a variety of school, pediatric, and tele-therapy roles, Layla uses her knowledge and extensive background in Special Education and Virtual therapy to support our clinicians. 

Layla received her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in Communication Disorders from Marshall University. Her academic background, combined with her practical experiences, has equipped her with the skills and expertise to effectively support and mentor clinicians in their professional journeys. She loves to collaborate and brainstorm with clinicians to ensure their success in various placements, providing them with the tools and support they need to thrive. Layla and her husband live in Columbus, Ohio, with their French Bulldog, Farley. They enjoy traveling, attending concerts, and passionately supporting “THE” Ohio State Buckeyes.