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As a result of COVID-19, Redwood offers new teletherapy service for clients in Northern Kentucky

It’s never too late to try something new.

And that’s exactly what Peggy Farmer – Redwood’s Director of Therapeutic Intervention – is doing at the Northern Kentucky nonprofit special needs facility.

“We started looking into teletherapy in mid-March when COVID-19 forced Redwood to suspend operations for their clients,” said Farmer, who celebrates 25 years serving Redwood this month. “We researched it and did some webinars.”

Peggy Farmer

Redwood services some 750 clients – from 6-weeks of age to 85 years old – and today provides teletherapy services for occupational, physical and speech therapy as well as developmental intervention.

“It’s totally different from face-to-face therapy,” said Farmer, “yet it has proven to be a very effective form of therapy during the health crisis and has allowed us to offer uninterrupted services for most of our clients.”

Families have been very appreciative of having this option, according to Farmer, a native of Dolton, South Dakota.

“One reason this form of therapy has been so effective,” she said, “is the increased involvement of family members and caregivers as they participate in the session along with the client.”

Farmer claims this allows for better understanding of the strategies used and more carryover in daily routines. The transition from face-to-face therapy to teletherapy in mid-March was a learning experience for both clients and therapists.

None of the Redwood therapists had ever participated in teletherapy before.

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“One thing we did learn,” said Farmer, a Child Development major at South Dakota State University, “was that the materials we had been using in face-to-face therapy just didn’t work in teletherapy. Fortunately, we were able to find many resources, some designed specifically for teletherapy and some that could be used for both forms of therapy,” she said.

Redwood is servicing some 99 clients of all ages, from early intervention (birth until age 3) to adults via teletherapy, noted Farmer. “Some of the clients being serviced are with more than one discipline,” she said. “We’re working with 10 full and part-time therapists.”

And as for the results? They speak for themselves. Heidi Overwine’s son, John “Atticus” Overwine, is age 6 and diagnosed with autism. Heidi said this of Redwood:

“I really appreciate you offering teletherapy. It’s so good for Atticus to get to continue OT during these times. He did much better last week and I think he is getting used to it versus face-to-face. I am sure it wasn’t an easy process to shift your agency to the virtual world; but we are so grateful for your efforts to bring your amazing therapists into our homes.”

From Redwood

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