Can you describe your business?
Online speech therapy sessions are the digital version of classic speech therapy. You establish a face-to-face relationship through Skype or using another method of video-conferencing. This helps to focus your attention because the screen removes many distractions.
This technique has been used in North America for many years and is being developed in Europe and Asia today.
Nearly all disorders can be seen during a visual consultation! For young children, the involvement of their parents is important.
I really like to work with those who are having problems with spoken language (the emergence of language in children, difficulties in articulating, speech/language delays, dysphasia, stuttering, autistic spectrum disorders, various disabilities, neurological disorders) but also with those who are having problems with written language (particularly dyslexia/dysorthography).
I‘m also very happy to support multilingual patients and their families (I can offer support to parents in English if needed).
I realise that, in practice, even with the youngest patients, we can make good progress … the screen attracts them, but most of all, we create a really warm human relationship… which is great! It goes without saying that everything during our sessions remains confidential, just as it does in a face-to-face meeting. On a practical level, patients don’t need vast amounts of material (just a computer or tablet, with a Wi-Fi connection). I provide them with the material they need for our meeting by sharing my screen with them. I also sometimes send documents that they can print off, if necessary. Ideally, the patient should be in a quiet room. I ask parents, to make sure there are no distractions, especially for young children. For example, turn off the TV, hide the iPads and keep brothers and sisters busy in another room. Then, the session is ALL THEIRS! At home, patients get out their paper and possibly pens or crayons … and come to the session in a happy mood.
I often say that language must convey information, but also pleasure – this goes for my sessions too!
How did you develop it?
I asked a relocation agency to help me open up a practice (to set up a registration number and tax ID number). Then, I was lucky enough to have the help of a friend and webmaster/coach who gave me great support with my start-up by creating my website, www.domidelaporte.com. I’m a member of speech therapy platforms (which work through a license or monthly subscription), I’ve got printed business cards … basically, everything you need to start a practice. I’d say it all took a little less than 6 months … but I didn’t waste any time because I was very motivated!! (Also, not speaking German, I didn’t get much local business here, except from my family!)
What do you gain from your experience on a professional level and settling into a country?
Setting into the country wasn’t necessarily very easy at the start, especially due to the language barrier. This is possibly what helped me to focus even more on setting up my practice!! I’m DELIGHTED with my new professional path!
Can you summarise your professional journey …
– 2016 to 2017: the launch of my online speech therapy business and being part of the Eutelmed network.
– 2011 to 2016: Speech-language pathologist at the Kaleidoscope Therapy Centre in Singapore, in charge of assessment and rehabilitation for French-speaking patients at the Singapore French High school, but also for multilingual children from local or international schools or from couples with different language backgrounds.
– 2003 to 2007: Speech and language therapist in the IME (Medical-Educational Institute of Saint-Claude, Jura), working with children and adolescents with mental health disabilities (speech therapist responsible for SEES, Section for Specialised Education and SIPFP, Section for Insertion and Initial Professional Training). Multidisciplinary teamwork and numerous contacts with partners (SESSAD, CMPP, doctors and paramedics, educators, families …).
– 2003 to 2005: freelancing in a speech therapy practice (very varied re-education), supplemented by a salaried job at the I.M.E. in Saint-Claude.
– 2002: French teacher at the Petit Pierrot Club in London.
– 2000 to 2001: assistant teacher in a medium/large class at the Benjamins School in