Interoception Questions with Kelly-Episode 1: The Interoception Curriculum & Telehealth

“How do you use the interoception curriculum in a telehealth model or telesessions?” is a question we’ve often been getting. Using the interoception curriculum with a telehealth delivery can be a great way to expand how your learners interact with interoception. For some educators, telehealth and interoception work well together already!

For those just beginning their telehealth and interoception work journey right now, we have some tips to share to make the experience easier and more fulfilling for you and your learners. These tips will help you get started, and a free document is available in the printables section of this website to expand on your knowledge of this subject.

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Tip Number 1: Prepare for Your Session

Get creative when working through the lesson plan and deciding what parts of the lesson to use in your telehealth session. Most of the lesson is already doable in a telehealth setting. However, there are some Focus Area Experiments that you may need to adapt to your environment and your specific learner. For some learners, a caregiver is present. If the caregiver is willing, you might ask them to gather the materials needed for the learner during the telehealth session. Many of these materials are household materials, like lotion or water containers in differing temperatures.

Sometimes a caregiver is not present, and that’s okay! Think about what you are going to be able to do with your learner’s specific needs and abilities. In some cases, this means working with Focus Area Experiments that require no additional materials. One of the experiments with feeling all the physical sensations your hands can experience is holding a hand warmer. You can adapt the lesson to have the same effect without the materials. For example, you can get a similar sensation of warmth on the skin by blowing into your hands.

Our interoception activity cards can be an excellent resource for those needing more options for their Focus Area Experiments. They offer 170 activities that require no additional materials.

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Tip Number 2: Involve the Caregiver Whenever Possible

Your learner’s caregiver is another set of hands on the opposite side of the screen during the telehealth delivery of interoceptive support. Still, they also learn these skills as they participate in the lesson. This participation will help them translate these skills into their caregiving duties between telesessions.

Tip Number 3: Consider Visual Supports

Visual support is a big piece of interoceptive support for many different reasons. Think about how you will project a Descriptor Menu that supports the lesson you are working on during your session. Maybe you will want to share a visual aid of the Focus Area Experiments or a list of experiments you will be working on with your learner.

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Also, think about projecting a body check and how your learner will interact with these visual aids. A PowerPoint presentation can be useful in these lessons and help your learner visualize the timeline of their lessons. Again, you can reference the printables resource section to find out how to best utilize visual aids in your lessons with the “The Interoception Curriculum & Activity Cards in Telehealth” document.

Tip Number 4: Increase Predictability

Predictability can make a telehealth session more productive for your learner. A visual schedule at the beginning of each session will help increase predictability. Throwing that schedule back onto the screen throughout the session will also help your learner know what to expect in the lesson and give them an “ending” they can see coming.

Even if a learner is having fun and enjoying the curriculum, it’s still important to remember that social participation and doing all these activities can be both taxing and enjoyable for the learner. Knowing when the end of the session will come can help the learner spend their energy appropriately and help them know how long they will need to keep going during the lesson. This predictability can make the lesson more successful!

Include a preview of your next telesession at the end of the current session. Say something that previews the topic, like, “The next time we meet, we will be talking about all the different ways that your nose can feel,” so they know what will be coming up.

Tip Number 5: Plan for Positive Practice

Consider positive practice methods you can give your learner to practice between telehealth sessions. Please encourage them to use IA on the Fly, an easy way to get more interoceptive support into their daily routine.

If there is a caregiver, help them understand what some IA on the Fly prompts are and how they can incorporate those things and “talk the interoception talk” in their daily activities for the learner. This process can help the learner become better able to notice and connect their body signals. The caregiver may also want to repeat the experiments you’ve gone over in your telesessions with the learner and give the learner more practice.

Naturally occurring Focus Area Experiments can also help reinforce interoception, and the strategies learned in telesessions. Many experiences in a day evoke stronger feelings within different body parts. These feelings create excellent opportunities to use IA on the Fly and help learners notice and describe sensations within their bodies. A list of these naturally occurring Focus Area Experiments called “called “Interoception Activity List” can also be found under our printable resource section.

Finally, body checks are a great way to practice IA between sessions. You can complete a body check with the learner, or they can complete one independently, using a wipe-off board or even on a piece of paper. Whatever is most accessible and straightforward for the learner to utilize.

Tip Number 6: Regulation, Self-Care, and Realistic Expectations

Everyone is dysregulated, especially when there are changes in routine. It’s essential to set small goals for all of us, from therapists and professionals to caregivers and learners. If the learner can only make it through five minutes of a telesession, that’s still an accomplishment and, in some cases, a significant accomplishment. Set expectations small and celebrate milestones and achievements in telehealth activities!

For additional interoception resources, please browse our free video series, printables, and podcasts. Please participate in the interoception community by visiting our YouTube page and commenting on the videos that resonate with you. Please share your experiences and learn from others engaging with interoception lessons and providing telehealth delivery for their learners!

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