The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed telehealth services, including telemental health, as a safe and effective way of receiving needed healthcare while remaining socially distant.
has shown telemental health services can be as effective as traditional, in-office visits. For many kids with , switching to telehealth services this year meant that they could continue to work with their treatment providers.
With a bit of preparation, you can help your child get as much out of telehealth as they did outside in-person sessions. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Let your child know what to expect. Before starting, have a sit-down conversation with your child about what online health care is like and ask them if they have any questions or concerns. You can also let them know that it may feel strange or weird at first, but it should feel at least somewhat like usual within a few sessions. One of the best ways to get over the initial awkwardness is to keep going.
Set clear expectations and boundaries. If you’re generally present throughout your child’s appointment, then you can be there online as well. But if your child typically sees their provider on their own, it’s essential to give them that same level of privacy. Provide them with a private space in your home if you can, and ensure that siblings and other family members don’t interfere.
Do a trial run. Before the first session, make sure you can use the designated platform on the device you plan to use. Download the software if needed and test it out beforehand to see if it works ahead of time if possible. This way, you won’t waste any precious time dealing with technical difficulties during the appointment.
Know the ground rules. Your child’s care provider will likely use part of the first session to set guidelines for how online care will work, and it’ll probably make sense for you to be there for that part of the conversation.
Stay focused. It’s essential to treat telehealth in the same way you would in-person appointments. If possible, remove any distractions before the appointment and ensure any notifications on the screen are muted. Additionally, ensure your child knows what the expectations are for time and that they should stay for the whole session.
Be supportive. Even if your child is attending an appointment on their own, they’ll still need a hand from time to time. Depending on the type of therapy, there may be a few exercises to try with them at home, in between sessions. Make sure you’re aware of what your child is expected to do in between sessions and, if needed, create a plan with them to figure out when and where they’ll do it.
You can also check in with your child and their provider before or after sessions regularly to see how they’re going. Remember that you can adjust the sessions if need be — for example, if your child struggles to stay focused at home, you could be there for part of the session to guide them, or if needed, talk to the counselor about switching to shorter sessions.
Taking the first step
The exceptional team at Abbey Neuropsychology Clinic in Palo Alto, California, has extensive experience with ADHD assessment and designs personalized treatment plans using the most advanced therapeutic techniques to improve ADHD symptoms. If you have questions about ADHD assessment or treatment options, or you’d like to schedule an appointment, call the office today. The clinic is now offering telehealth to patients in Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Woodside, Menlo Park, Atherton, Napa, Orinda, Hillsborough, Belvedere Tiburon, Blackhawk, Noe Valley, Malibu, Beverly Hills, and La Jolla.
To learn more about assessment and treatment options for ADHD, at Abbey Neuropsychology Clinic.