Sam* is a 19-year-old SpringHealth client diagnosed with Autism and Cerebral Palsy. Being non-verbal his entire life, Sam has struggled to communicate with his family around even his most basic needs, such as needing to use the restroom or being hungry. Together with his family, a behavioral health plan was created and he began in-person therapy in the early part of this year.

Then the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic hit. After the pandemic hit the US, the first priority for Sam immediately shifted to keeping him safe and keeping him healthy. His family enforced a strict quarantine early to reduce the risk of exposure to the highly contagious Coronavirus.

Sam and his mom wanted to explore teletherapy options so he could continue building on the progress that he was making before the quarantine. Sam had just started communicating functionally for the first time and the team needed a solution that could keep him safe and healthy, but also allow them to visually connect and continue building on the functional improvements.

Nothing was going to slow Sam down! The first teletherapy session began with a fun parent training and gradually the teletherapy sessions were integrated once Sam’s family was ready and comfortable with the technology. SpringHealth Behavior Analyst Leah Robertson helped coach from the iPad while Sam’s mom helped implement the behavior change programs. The teletherapy sessions continued on a weekly basis so progress could be measured, adjustments as could be made as necessary, and the program could evolve as Sam continued to make such great improvements.

“Sam’s family has been so engaged in his plan of care, and as a result, we have begun seeing even more improvements since beginning our teletherapy sessions. We continue to partner closely with his family by dropping off new data sheets, therapy visuals, and more right on their front porch!” said Leah. “It gives us a chance to see Sam’s smile in-person while maintaining our strict social distancing to keep him safe. With teletherapy solutions now available to us, and Sam’s entire family now involved in his plan of care, nothing is going to slow Sam down now – not even a global pandemic!”

*Name changed to protect patient confidentiality