Disclaimer: We received 3 free sessions in order to complete this review and I was compensated for my time, however the experiences and opinions are honest and all my own. I was not required to post a positive review. (In fact, I was such a fan, we chose to pay for additional sessions for another one of our daughters!) For more information, please see my disclosure policy.
It was truly a privilege to be able to try out this service and to now be able to tell you about it. As a Special Needs mom, I sometimes feel like my life is just made up of appointments. Being able to access quality online speech therapy at home was such a relief. It eliminated some of my appointments and some of my stress. We were actually so impressed by this service that when the complimentary sessions for Dancing Queen that were provided in order for me to write this review were over, we chose to pay for sessions for Granola Girl!
How online speech therapy works:
The first step in accessing this private speech therapy is to visit the webpage that profiles their speech therapists. The profiles offer both professional and personal information about the available therapists which allows you to find someone that you think would be a really good fit for you and for your family.
Once you have chosen your therapist, you arrange a time for an initial consultation that works for your schedule. At the consultation, you discuss with your therapist what would work best for you and/or your child and make a plan to move forward.
You then choose a private speech therapy package of either 5, 10 or 20 hours and pay for your sessions. Your sessions will then be arranged through e-mail at a time that works well for you and you begin.
You need access to a computer with a microphone and speakers. All the sessions take place online using GoTo Webinar, a very user friendly program.
What I love about Hello Foundation’s service:
They offer a free initial consultation.
This is a great way to see if this type of service is right for your family and to gauge how many sessions you will need.
You are in your own home.
There are so many benefits to this:
- You don’t need to arrange for child care for your other kids.
- You don’t have to drive anywhere. This saves time and gas money.
- Your child feels comfortable because they are in a place that they feel safe and are used to.
- If you have a laptop, you can have the session in whatever room you want to so you can minimize distractions and choose a room that your child is very familiar with.
- You can be in your pyjamas. Your child can be in their pyjamas.
- You can do other things while your child is having their session (during one session, I actually was doing Dancing Queen’s hair while she was doing her speech therapy!)
- It is ideal for homeschoolers as it doesn’t interrupt the homeschool schedule.
The sessions start and end on time.
So often in taking the kids to appointments, we find ourselves sitting in waiting rooms, well, waiting. It is frustrating and a huge waste of time. It is also hard to plan around appointments when you don’t know how long they will actually be. My experience with Hello Foundation was that the speech therapy sessions began exactly on time and ended when they were scheduled to. This allowed me to make other plans on those days and not be wasting any time in a waiting room.
Anyone can access this speech therapy.
Sometimes parents in smaller communities are limited in being able to access services such as speech therapy. Even larger communities can have long wait lists or conditions that prevent parents from being able to access the service but online speech therapy is something that all families can use.
Our experience with speech therapy online:
I looked through Hello Foundation’s online therapist profiles and chose Sasha. I had read on her profile that some of her experience included working at a VA hospital with veterans. As soon as I read that, I knew that she would be uniquely qualified to work with Dancing Queen, as she would likely have an understanding of PTSD and its effects on the brain. It turned out that she was a wealth of information and provided me with suggestions for not only improving Dancing Queen’s speech, but her overall cognitive function.
Sasha was easy to work with, encouraging, positive, and very good with Dancing Queen. I found Sasha to be very professional but also approachable, gentle and kind.
We decided to target two issues in regards to Dancing Queen’s speech. The first was that she has always said “way” instead of “or”. We aren’t sure why this is, but we assume it is because English is not her first language and it is just a word that she mis-learned and then got into the habit of saying it that way. We have tried to correct it ourselves without much success. She showed some progress with it in working with Sasha and continues to improve.
The other issue we were focusing on was her not properly pronouncing her “th” sound. Sasha worked with her on this and as well provided me with games and activities that we could do ourselves to strengthen this skill.
She was even able to bring up different visuals on the screen to use with Dancing Queen during online sessions.
With having the ability to both see and hear each other, Sasha was able to demonstrate things such as sticking the tongue out when making the “th” sound as well as being able to give Dancing Queen reminders when she saw that she was forgetting to stick her tongue out. (We don’t normally encouraging the sticking out of tongues, but of course make an exception when it comes to learning to make the “th” sound!!!)
Sasha sent follow up e-mails with further information for what we had discussed during sessions and with worksheet and games for me to do with Dancing Queen to continue the speech therapy on our own.
Sasha and I also worked together without Dancing Queen in the room in order for her to offer me specific suggestions on reducing her cognitive load and therefore enable her to learn more effectively in general. One of the big struggles with Dancing Queen’s PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is the effect it has on her cognitive functioning. It causes lack of attention and focus and a lack of retention, so homeschooling has been quite a challenge. Sasha offered many suggestions to help me lessen the work that Dancing Queen has to do with her brain in other areas to hopefully open her up to learning.
I have only just begun to implement these suggestions, so can’t yet report the outcome, but I found the suggestions to be excellent. They lined up with what I had previously researched about PTSD and its effects on the brain. The suggestions were concrete and customized for Dancing Queen and for our family situation. I appreciated that Sasha took the time to research ideas for us in between sessions and that she gave me the ability to move forward on my own.
Dancing Queen looked forward to her sessions and loved working with Sasha!
If you are a busy mom of Special Needs kids, I really encourage you to contact Hello Foundation and find out how they might be able to help you.
In addition to speech therapy, Hello Foundation also offers social skills training, which can be of particular benefit to children on the autism spectrum.