Our impact News A Day in the Life of... an Auditory Verbal Therapist in Quarantine AVUK's Auditory Verbal Therapist, Emma, takes us through A Day in the Life of an Auditory Verbal therapist working through these unusual times and striving to maintain the high standards of support for the families we see. There are many things that have changed over the past four weeks. The pandemic has affected all of us in different ways and had an enormous impact on every aspect of life. For the past five years, AVUK has been delivering early intervention services via telepractice for families who live further afield. We don’t want any family to miss out on the support they need during this time, which is why staff have worked tirelessly to adapt and enable family services to continue through online platforms. My day still starts at 6.30am. The cat lets me know it is time for breakfast and once she is fed, I wake up with a pot of coffee. I am no longer able to get to the gym for that early morning boost, but through the magic of video-conferencing, the gym now comes to my living room! Familiar, smiling faces fill my screen and with our coach there to guide us, hold us accountable and provide feedback in real-time, we push ourselves harder than we might have done alone. Breakfast Club. At 8.30am every weekday, there is an online link available for the whole AVUK team to meet and connect. While everyone is social distancing, it is a great opportunity to touch base, share ideas and generally check in with one another. This is usually the point where someone’s child or pet will pop on screen to say hello! At 9am I answer emails and plan ahead for the day. Lots of planning and preparation goes into each therapy session to ensure it is tailored to the age and stage of the child, the priorities and learning style of the parents and the everyday routines that are meaningful in that family’s life. With sessions now taking place in families’ own homes rather than in our clinic, we are no longer raiding our toy cupboard but jointly planning over the phone about what each family enjoys doing together, what they have to hand and how to fit our listening and spoken language goals into that activity. It has been a huge adjustment. Families who have been accessing Auditory Verbal therapy via telepractice face new challenges in the forms of working from home and managing childcare. Families transitioning from face-to-face to telepractice have been learning to navigate online platforms, problem-solve technology issues, prepare for the involvement of siblings, and to plan ahead for the typical distractions that exist in everyday life. What I like best about telepractice is how natural it is for the child to be playing with their toys and the people they love the most, while we integrate auditory strategies into those conversations. It has been a privilege to be welcomed into so many families’ homes and to coach from the side-lines as families enjoy making treats in the kitchen, building obstacle courses in the living room, painting rainbows on windows, designing paper aeroplanes, play acting a pirate ship sailing across the carpet ‘ocean’ and so much more! Together, we keep a close eye on all aspects of development, identify where each child is functioning and plan what we need to do to reach the next step! Another part of my role includes planning professional training events and developing presentation abstracts for conferences. Most conference presentations and speaking engagements have been postponed to later in the year as a result of COVID19. However, we have managed to transform several of our scheduled events into virtual events. For example, our practical workshop on hearing and hearing technology for Speech and Language Therapy MSc students went ahead on Zoom, and the Auditory Verbal Clinical Excellence Network will now be going ahead as a virtual opportunity for professionals to connect and share tips and strategies on adapting to telepractice. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming training events on our website over the next few weeks! It’s the end of the day. Time to log-off, tidy the desk and head out for a daily walk to catch the last of the sun. Although nothing can replace direct human connection, being able to share strategies, empower others and offer support during this time means the world to us.