Therapy Kits in Tri-Cities
One hundred shoe-sized boxes line the walls in the conference room at the Tri-Cities office. Each one is filled with art supplies, playdough, worksheets, a whiteboard and other creative items. The boxes are ready to be distributed to clients under the age of 10.
Staff has been working with clients via Telehealth for almost three months. While some clients prefer telehealth over in-person services, it is difficult for therapists to engage “littles” through a computer screen.
“My sessions would only last about 20 minutes and often I had to ask them to get their own items, which they didn’t always have,” said WISe Therapist Jenny Ornelas.
WISe Therapist Erika Lopez was experiencing the same challenges and brought the issue to her Program Supervisor Annie Gabriel.
“I asked her if time, money and resources were not an issue, what would you want as a solution?” Annie said.
Erika’s came up with the idea of take-home therapy kits. The kits would be filled with items that could be used in different ways during therapy, and still be individualized for each client.
By coincidence, the next day Annie found out that grant money was available to assist with therapy needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was perfect timing.” Annie said.
Erika and Jenny tried out different items with a few clients before the team built kits en masse. They both experienced improved client engagement when littles used the kits in telehealth therapy. The kits also helped therapists plan out therapy sessions, as they had more tools to work with.
“I used the therapy kit for my client who is five diagnosed with ODD and ADHD.” Erika shared. “I have not been able to successfully meet through telehealth with this youth for over three weeks. And today we met (for) the entire 30 minutes! I was so proud of his hard work. Having a worksheet and crayons easily accessible made such a huge difference. Not only for him but also for his parents.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded staff to find creative solutions to new barriers. The goal remains the same: to provide quality care no matter the circumstances.