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Thriving in the Midst of Chaos: Parenting With Special Needs Kids

Jan 7, 2021

Episode 71: Online Speech Therapy With Guest Leanne Sherred

In this episode, we discuss speech therapy in times of COVID for kiddos who are verbal or nonverbal. Guest Leanne Sherred created Expressable, an online speech therapy company, to provide easier access to speech therapy. Speech therapy online is very similar to in-person speech therapy, but can also use additional multimedia and more parent involvement. Online therapy must be decided on an individual basis, as it might be tougher to work on swallowing (to reduce risk of choking and aspiration), or assist children who have a lot of sensory-based needs and have difficulty engaging in sessions.

Pros as outlined by Leanne: Very similar to other speech visits, can be done at home on the schedule that works for them, research has supported for teletherapy, therapists can use other media things (screen share, draw on screen, videos, pictures, animations), sessions online are engaging for kids, also uses a parent as a facilitator to help keep the kid engaged, gets parents more involved in treatment, the therapist can provide more parent coaching, the convenience factor, obtain more consistent therapies, and greater ease of carrying over the skills to home and school.  

Cons: May not be a good fit for every child, the family might have limited internet or device access.


For kids to get the most out of the session, parents should be really present during the sessions, have a good understanding of the goals for their child, should speak a lot with their child, and should tell the therapist where they need more help in assisting their child with language. To help in daily life, model, narrate what you see, use consistency, surround the child with speech and language, pause and give them a chance to speak, and be patient.


For children who are nonverbal or have not yet acquired language, online speech therapy is doable, but parents would need to become more involved in sessions. They may also use AAC devices or PECS or a switch.


In therapies, therapists will make a plan to include language and practice throughout the day, potentially use alternative communication modalities, will work parallel with a screen or story, ask/answer questions, work with parents to provide them cues for what to do to work with their kids, and teach the child how to use alternative communication systems if they are needed.

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Show Music:

Intro Outro: Intro Outro 2 by Mattias Lahoud under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Theme Song: 90s rock style by monkeyman535 under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Self Care Song: Green and Orange No Water by Duncan Alex under CC-BY 3.0 License (


Hosted by: Jessica Temple and Lewis Temple


Disclaimer: Our show is not designed to provide listeners with specific or personal legal, medical, or professional services or advice. Parents of children with health issues should always consult their health care provider for medical advice, medication, or treatment.

Copyright 2020 Jessica and Lewis Temple