Tech for teletherapy
OrganizationThe PREP Program; Monarch House
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a shift to remote service delivery for many children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families. Challenges brought about from transitioning to online services include 1) a lack of web-based therapy activities for clinicians to use that allows a level of interactivity seen with in-person therapy, and 2) relying much more heavily on caregiver reports of child’s performance. In turn, this change has greatly affected caregiver stress, and affected the child’s progress and ability to achieve clinical goals. Thus, there is a critical need for accessible and interactive resources (e.g. free, user-friendly, online) to facilitate delivery of intervention services to families. Access to evidence-based intervention services plays a critical role in optimizing long-term outcomes for the child and the family. Such resources can have implications beyond the pandemic as well, by bridging gaps in remote, rural, and northern communities in Canada that do not have access to consistent in-person services.
Our proposed solution is to create a platform to be used during live, synchronous therapy sessions, with performance recorded. As children with developmental disabilities differ in language (e.g. verbal vs. non-verbal), cognitive, and motor skills, the platform would be equipped with customizable activities designed to accommodate these differences. Children would be able to interact with the platform in a variety of ways, including: with vocalizations, clapping, drag-and-drop, sustained touch, tap, and/or visual filters or overlays. Websites and apps with these features currently exist, however, none have been combined into one platform, and often come with restrictions or a paywall for clinicians and families. A minimal viable product (MVP) for this project was created through the Neuro Nexus COVID-19 Special Initiative, named “Tech for Teletherapy”. The current MVP allows clinicians to log in and create images for children to select. Data is also recorded and saved. The next steps would be to continue building on this project, to add features such: new cognitive games, a homepage, analytics page, audio feedback or visual overlay games. The team members from the Neuro Nexus COVID-19 Special Initiative “Tech for Teletherapy” may act as mentors or advisors for the Submit-a-Challenge team.