tech trouble


by Marlene Schoenberg, Ed.M. CCC-SLP and Amy Chouinard M.A. CCC-SLP, COM

Sometimes the on-line therapy session is going well. You had picked
the right activity to motivate the child, you are getting good
responses and then… all of a sudden, the picture freezes or the
sound disappears! Ugh! Stay calm! Don’t panic!  Take 3 deep cleansing breaths!

Here is a list of suggestions that we have found helpful in resolving
some of these computer glitches. Hopefully, you can learn from our
struggles to put more of your “mental computer energy” into those
unexpected surprises that may pop up.

Some of you might be digital natives and some newer to these kinds of
computer programs. For everyone, the more we share our trials and
tribulations, the more we all can benefit.

Use this list of suggestions to compile your own “Tech Checklist”
to help your video sessions go more smoothly, with minimal  tech

1.    Seek Out Alternatives

  1. Change the platform.
  • Zoom
  • FaceTime
  • Google Hangouts/Meets
  • Skype

2. Change the device.

  • Desktop
  • Laptop
  • Tablet
  • Cell phone
  • PC or Mac

3. Change the browser.

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Microsoft Explorer
  • Apple Safari

4.  Move to a different part of the house where you are located.

5.  Change Wi-Fi network or use cellular


2.    Consider 4 Stages of Tech Problem Solving

1) Prep, Planning, Prevention

1. Establish sign language signals with the parent for when you may lose sound (cupping  your hand to your ear, using sign language
numbers, shrugging shoulders with hands up, thumb up or thumb down). In Zoom, there is a text function that you may be able to use.
2. Make sure, that at both ends, the camera and microphone functions
are on and not muted or covered.
3. Review your checklist.

2) Problems Getting On
1. Double check simple spellings of your email and password as well
the name of the app. works better than  Could the
issue be caps vs. lower case?
2. Use your cell phone to communicate with the parent or aide if you
are having tech problems and double check with them by phone about
what is happening on their side. This is appropriate use of a caregiver’s phone, however, it should not be used for the treatment
session itself.
3. Start 15 minutes early to resolve tech problems so the child
does not have to wait.   If there is a short “tech wait” make
sure the parent or aide is reading a book or interacting with the
child and his/her favorite toy to pass the time. If you realize that
this may take longer, reschedule the session for later in the day or
another day.

3)  Staying Connected

1.Determine the side of the interaction where the problem is
2. What should you do if the picture freezes and you don’t know
what you pushed to make that happen?
Solution: Refresh the screen.
3.What can you do if you lose the picture?
Solution:  Go out of the program and reboot!
4. What can you do if you lose sound?
Solution: Reboot and reset. Go out of the program and come back.

4)  Post Session
1. Check with the help desk of the platform.
2. Watch a tutorial video on the platform. Find one that fits your
style and knowledge level.
3. Talk to your colleagues who may be using that same platform.

In conclusion, the ideal is to prevent these problems from happening
again.  However, the reality is, they might occur in different ways
and you (and the parent) have to be knowledgeable, flexible and agile.
You need a variety of approaches and solutions in your distance
learning toolbox. This is a good start on your tech problem solving