Teletherapy - how does it work and will it work for me? | MyCareSpace

Will online therapy work for my child?

A mum and child interacting with a computer screen during teletherapy

One of the goals of the NDIS is give people with disability access to early intervention (especially in children), but with a serious shortage of therapy services like Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Psychology, many parents are unable to activate their NDIS plans and use their NDIS therapy funding.

In some areas, waiting lists can be more than 12 months! There are, however, more opportunities to access online therapy - the delivery of therapy online using your computer or iPad (or even phone).

Online Therapy is often the only option available in more regional areas where the supply is simply not available at all.

So, considering online therapy (often called teletherapy or telehealth) may be a way of getting your therapy started sooner and may actually be a better way of receiving therapy for you or your child.

Remember, you can always transition from online to face-to-face when availability comes up in your area or with the same therapy company.  

Why could online online therapy be the first choice for my child? 

Here are the key reasons why Online Therapy may in fact be the solution, or even the better choice for your child:

  1. TIMING - Does your child have less than 6 months left on their NDIS plan? If the answer is yes, then it's unlikely that you will be able to get face-to-face therapy setup as there are extended wait times. Online therapy will help you get started so that you ‘use it and don't lose it’. 
  2. ACCESSIBILITY - Online Therapy makes therapy services accessible to children who may live in remote areas or lack transportation options. This would be especially important for children with disabilities who may have limited mobility or face challenges traveling. 
  3. SUITABILITY & FLEXIBILITY - Being at home is convenient, especially if you have other children or your child is at school (which means your availability is limited). 
    Online therapy allows families to schedule sessions at times that are convenient for them, supporting their child’s daily routine without the need to travel to a specific location.

    This flexibility is especially helpful for children with disabilities who may have complex schedules or medical needs that require careful planning.

  4. REDUCED ANXIETY: Some children with disabilities may experience anxiety or difficulty adjusting to new environments or unfamiliar faces. 
    Being online may also be better suited for those who experience anxiety traveling or attending therapy appointments in person. Online therapy has been especially helpful for young autistic people.
  5. FAMILIAR ENVIRONMENT: Children with disabilities often feel more comfortable and at ease in their own environment. Online therapy enables them to receive therapy in the comfort of their own homes, which can promote relaxation and a sense of security, leading to more effective therapy outcomes.
  6. PARENT INVOLVEMENT: Online therapy enables more active participation from parents or caregivers during therapy sessions. Parents can play a crucial role in supporting their child's progress by observing the therapy techniques and strategies and incorporating them into the child's daily routine. Online Therapy allows parents to actively engage and collaborate with the therapist, leading to better outcomes for the child.
  7. VALUE FOR MONEY - Your funding spent is 100% on therapy. There are no travel costs. Since The travel is charged at the same rate as the therapy, this can eat away at your funding! Travel can be charged by therapists on both ways up to 50%, so you could end up paying double.
  8. CAPACITY - Online therapy may mean you don't need to wait 6 months for a face-to-face appointment - you can get started immediately. It may also give you access to that assessment that you need before you can access other supports.
  9. CONTINUITY OF CARE - the ability to secure continued access to therapy despite COVID, environmental challenges (flooding), remote locations or any other challenges that may prevent you from attending a clinic.

Is online therapy suitable for my child?

The suitability of online therapy does indeed depend on the type of therapy being delivered as well as your child's disability.

Many parents have success with online Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Psychology and Counselling. Therapists are also able to perform a number of diagnoses and assessments using online therapy.

How do I know if my child will be able to do online therapy?

Therapists tell us that parents are often worried that their child won’t stay engaged. If your child likes to game online, they should be able to do online therapy.

Of course, just like face-to-face sessions, the degree of engagement will also depend on how engaging the therapist is and how the child feels on the day, but you would have these same challenges in a face-to-face environment.

An online therapist uses a wide variety of online tools, evidence-based techniques and a creative approach to deliver therapy online and keep children engaged - online therapy is not just a face-to-face delivered on a screen.

Before you engage a new therapist, ask them what tools and methods they are using to ensure the best delivery of online therapy for children.

What happens if my child misbehaves during therapy?           

This is a common question! Therapists reassure us, that it's actually not a bad thing to have a child ‘misbehaving' in their natural home environment on camera. It provides a real-life picture, which is very necessary to perform an assessment or to work on with therapy.

What about if I or my child can't sit still for that long?

No need for concern that some participants may not be able to attend to the computer screen for lengthy periods.

Online therapists are used to this challenge and will encourage you can get up and move around to take breaks.

I'm not a tech geek - will I be able to manage online therapy?

Firstly, you are not expected to get set up alone. Online therapists will help make sure you have the right programs installed before you start your child's first session.

So what actually happens when we decide to use online therapy/telehealth?

All telehealth providers will have their own systems and processes in place. 

They first ensure that patients are set up and able to take part in online therapy and will guide (and assist with their tech geek) them through the setup and consultation process.

There is no obligation to stay with Telehealth if a place becomes available with a face-to-face provider. They completely understand this. It’s about giving the best possible outcome for the participant

How much does online therapy cost?

In general, the cost of online therapy = the price of therapy delivered at the location of the provider. So, even if a participant is in a remote area, the rate charged depends on where the provider is located.

For example: if the speech therapist is located in metro Sydney area, and the participant in a very remote area in Western Australia, the rate charged would be the regular metro Sydney rate.

BUT, participants in Remote or Very Remote areas can agree to pay the remote or very remote prices, if they are satisfied that the support provides value for money.

We have prepared a resource that includes the pricing for online therapy in metro and rural areas: How much is Online Therapy?

Can I get an autism assessment online?

MyCareSpace has a few providers that have deep experience in delivering online autism assessments. This is a welcome relief for families that have been waiting for months to get a diagnosis.

Let our Connection Team help you by calling us on 1300 2888 93 or by submitting an online support request.

I'm looking for therapy or other supports




Our Connections Team at MyCareSpace are linked in with a range of providers offering telehealth services with availability. Let our team help you navigate the NDIS and find the right service for you.
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