Therapists who use Zoom might be familiar with the white board feature: when you select “share screen,” one of the options is to share a white board. If you’re using a Chrome book, you can use Whiteboard Fox to create a private whiteboard to use with your client. Google also has Jamboard, which lets you draw together using Google drive. Jamboard doesn’t require screen share or remote control, and whatever you make is automatically saved in your Google docs.
In my office, I used whiteboard drawings to encourage kids to draw things that they might feel nervous or scared to talk about. The beauty of the whiteboard is you can immediately erase whatever you made, so the activity lowers inhibitions in a way that traditional art activities might not.
Pros of the online whiteboard include:
- If you ask the child to do a projective drawing, like drawing their family or a specific prompt, you can watch what they create in real time. You see what they draw and then erase, and you see what order they choose for different components of the drawing.
- Mistakes are so easy to get rid of! You can undo or erase, and the image is completely gone. No taking time to erase. Again, this can lower inhibitions.
- Your markers will never run out of ink again.
- If you are making a drawing together, you won’t bump hands or get in each others’ way.
- The drawing can be saved to your computer, so you can email a copy to the parents if the child wants it and can still have a copy for your chart if needed.
- If you want to play Pictionary but are having trouble with the link, you can pull up some Pictionary prompts and play on the white board instead.
Drawbacks of the whiteboard include:
- This is maybe the one issue I have had using Zoom: depending on what device you’re using, the options available change. My computer has about 12 colors I can draw with, but I have encountered times when my client only has 6, which frustrates them.
- You can’t erase part of a line – you have to delete the whole mark.
- It’s hard to draw using a computer mouse! (Although I’ve found anything that is difficult to do over telehealth becomes an opportunity to practice frustration tolerance, so maybe this is technically in the pros column.)
I’d love to hear from other therapists about what tips and tricks have helped them reach kids using telehealth. What has worked for you? What hasn’t? Also, if anyone reading this is well-versed in coding, I would love to partner with you to develop some more games for telehealth.