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Telehealth Tips

Teaching via Telehealth

Learning has evolved over the years, and the way we teach must adapt. When the idea of online learning was first imagined, it seemed like a far off and futuristic goal. In 2020, it is a reality.

Although virtual learning has been around for a while, the covid-19 pandemic hurled a bunch of sectors into the online realm. With such a big adjustment in a short period of time, how can we provide the best services to our clients?


I would be lost without my calendar apps and day planner. Knowing what to expect (what I am doing, when I am doing it, how long until I have an activity, who I will be seeing, etc.) has been one way to help me stay calm and focused on the task at hand.

Schedules have always been a staple in the field of ABA. But how do we set up a schedule to provide structure when we are not physically in the room with our learner?

  1. Have the learner create the schedule
    Examples include: learner can draw 5 boxes (1 for each of 5 activities); printing out the activities (“board game”, or “BG” for short form)
  2. You create the schedule
    Examples include: share your screen and type out the schedule, remember to provide choices for your learner (“do you want to do reading first, or math?”, etc.)


Review the outline and what is to be expected. A behaviour contract may also be an option to consider depending on your learner’s skill and needs. Read more about effective behaviour contracts here.

It is good to review the outline and expectations at the beginning, but it is better to refer back to the schedule and expectations throughout the session (using behaviour-specific praise is a great way to remind learners of the expectations: “Great job answering the first time I asked!”).

A self-monitoring system is a great tool to implement if is applicable to your learner and their skill level.

Be prepared! This is the time to get all relevant material for your session.


Providing reinforcement virtually may require some out-of-the-box creativity.

Continue to include token boards and verbal praise, but what the learner is working for may not be the usual tickles, walks in the park, or other in-person activities. Consider some alternatives such as: silly dances, movement breaks, silly faces, playing preferred songs, watching short video clips (30 seconds – 1 minute in length).

Know Your Learner

Do you have a learner who has difficulty sitting for long periods of time when working face-to-face? Sitting for any amount of time in front of a screen can be an added struggle. Movement breaks are a great way to burn some energy, provide an activity during transitions, and re-invigorate the learner to attend to the activity.

Many learners work better with visual support – share your screen!
The visuals can be pictorial images, text cues, or a combination of both. Interactive activities can also help to keep your learner engaged.

Watch our YouTube video: Why Are Visuals So Important

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