Creating the Ideal Speech Teletherapy Office Setup

12 tips for creating a comfortable and functional office space.

Devon Lawrey, CCC-SLP
By Devon Lawrey, CCC-SLP
October 26, 2023
Creating the Ideal Speech Teletherapy Office Setup

In the rapidly evolving landscape of healthcare, teletherapy has become a crucial platform for providing speech therapy services. This shift has necessitated the creation of a conducive and professional teletherapy office setup. Whether you’re a seasoned teletherapist or just starting out, it’s essential to ensure your environment is equipped with the right tools to facilitate effective and comfortable therapy sessions. We’ll explore the elements of a successful speech teletherapy office setup, from technology essentials to ergonomic comfort.

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  1. Internet Connection

This seems like an obvious one as you are providing telehealth services. It is recommended that you have a download speed of 10 MB/sec and an upload speed of 10 MB/sec (at minimum). You can check your download and upload speeds using an online speed test. Be sure to know how to reset your router and/or modem in the event of an internet glitch. Yes, I am talking about the solve all solution of unplugging and plugging your router into a power source in order to reset it. Additionally, a WIFI extender could be useful depending on your workspace location within your home.

  1. Computer: The Core of Teletherapy

Your computer serves as the heart of your teletherapy office. It should be a reliable, up-to-date machine with good processing power, ample storage, and a robust internet connection. Ensure that your operating system and software are up to date to guarantee smooth, uninterrupted sessions. I often clear my laptop memory and keep most of my materials in google drive in order to reduce memory usage on my laptop. Don’t worry, if you work with children they will have no qualms about telling you that your computer is “slow and laggy”.

  1. HIPAA-Compliant Meeting Platform

Selecting a HIPAA-compliant video conferencing platform is critical for maintaining patient privacy and confidentiality. I use Zoom, I find it to be the most intuitive to use for myself and my clients. Zoom, if properly configured, can meet these requirements. You must accept a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) and enable HIPAA compliance on Zoom. Ensure that you are well-versed in the platform’s features and settings to create a secure teletherapy environment. I always lock meetings to ensure that no client can accidently join another client’s meeting.

  1. USB Hub: The Digital Nerve Center

A USB hub is a vital component of your teletherapy office setup, as it allows you to expand the connectivity of your computer. With multiple USB ports, you can connect various peripherals, ensuring that you’re prepared for any situation. This can include keyboard, mouse, chargers, and more. A USB hub streamlines your setup and minimizes cable clutter on your desk creating a calming workspace.

USB Hub

  1. Lighting: Shedding Light on Communication

Proper lighting is crucial for maintaining a professional and engaging appearance during teletherapy sessions. Consider investing in a Ring Light or LED lamp that can be easily adjusted to achieve optimal brightness and reduce glare. A small desk lamp can provide additional illumination. For my own personal set up, I like to have an adjustable LED light behind my computer and a small desk lamp with warm lighting. Personally, I find LED lights to be abrasive to look at all day but they do provide great illumination. You may have to play around with your set up to find the best lighting situation for your room and you may have to adjust it throughout the day as well.

Adjustable LED Lamp: Small Desk Lamp:

  1. Standing Desk: Versatility and Health

A standing desk offers versatility in your workspace, allowing you to switch between sitting and standing during sessions. This not only improves your comfort but also has potential health benefits, like reducing back pain and promoting better posture. I enjoy using my standing desk, especially when I feel my energy levels waning. I also find it easier to use my green screen when my desk is in standing mode than when I try to stay seated.

Standing Desk:

  1. Quiet, Private Space: The Foundation of Teletherapy

Your teletherapy office should be a quiet, private space free from interruptions. Establish clear boundaries with household members to minimize disruptions during sessions. In order to be HIPAA complaint, you must ensure that no one else can see your screen. I recommend working in a separate room with a door that can be closed for the most protection.

  1. Headphones: Crystal Clear Communication

Quality headphones are essential for clear audio during teletherapy sessions. Noise-canceling headphones can help eliminate background noise and ensure that both you and your clients hear each other clearly.

Headphones:

  1. Computer Stand: Eye-Level Screen Placement

A computer stand or laptop stand is a handy addition to your setup, allowing you to position your screen at eye level. This ergonomic adjustment promotes better posture and reduces strain on your neck and shoulders.

Computer Stand:

  1. Ergonomic Office Chair: Support for Long Sessions

Invest in an ergonomic office chair that provides proper lumbar support and comfort during long therapy sessions. A well-designed chair can significantly reduce fatigue and discomfort.

  1. iPad: A Versatile Tool

An iPad can be a valuable addition to your teletherapy toolkit. I like to use mine for note-taking in therapy sessions to reduce paper clutter. As well share eBooks and apps with clients.

  1. Create an Inviting Space for Yourself You want to enjoy your workspace, especially if you have not had a designated speech room or have been shunned to a closet at school. I like to have a couple of beverages on hand (hello caffeine), a cozy blanket to keep warm, a favorite candle, and a whiteboard with my monthly and professional goals visible to make my workspace more enjoyable and comfortable.

In conclusion, an effective speech teletherapy office setup combines technology, comfort, and professionalism. Many of these items are not required to start providing teletherapy, but with the right tools and a thoughtfully arranged space, you can ensure that your teletherapy sessions are productive, comfortable, and confidential. Prioritize the needs of your clients while also considering your own comfort to create a successful and fulfilling teletherapy practice.

Topics discussed in this article:
Therapy Tips

Devon Lawrey, CCC-SLP

Devon Lawrey, CCC-SLP has been practicing speech therapy throughout the state of Michigan for six years. She has her Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Western Michigan University. Her passion in life is collaborating with families to support their child's individual communication needs and improve their overall quality of life.