Tips for Technology Troubleshooting

Experiencing technical difficulties while working with clients can be infuriating.  Where does one begin to try to resolve issues such as the computer screen freezing or loss of audio?  This post provides suggestions to potentially overcome technology hurdles.

One consideration is whether-or-not you (or your client) recently have shut down and restarted your computers.  When laptops stay on for days at a time, there may be several processes running in the background draining your computer’s resources that you may not be aware of (e.g., program updates).  This places an additional burden on your computer’s ability to run programs simultaneously.  Video conferencing requires much of your laptop’s resources and when you begin to share online materials and websites, that increases those demands causing your system to experience difficulties. 

Properly shutting down your system at the end of each day and starting it anew approximately 30 minutes before your first session of the day is recommended. This allows for any updates to finish before starting your day.  Properly shutting down your PC’s system (an Apple computer’s commands are similar) involves clicking on the Window’s icon in the bottom, left corner of your screen, clicking on the “power” icon, and choosing, “Shut down” or “Restart.”  Just holding down the power button or closing the laptop does not allow for the system to shut down and restart appropriately.

Another suggestion to try, when the screen freezes or the signal is “glitchy,” is to have both you and your client “leave” and then rejoin the meeting.  Be sure to explain to your client or his/her tele-facilitator what you are doing and why.  Give him/her clear instructions to rejoin the meeting immediately after leaving.

If you feel that the difficulties are due to your computer, explain that you are going to leave the meeting to restart your system and that this will take a few minutes.  Ask your client or tele-facilitator to rejoin the meeting and explain that you will join him/her in approximately 2 to 3 minutes.  If you feel that the difficulties are due to your client’s computer, instruct the client or the tele-facilitator to leave the meeting, restart his/her computer, and rejoin once able.

If you are unable to problem-solve the inability to hear your client, ask the client or tele-facilitator to call the meeting using the telephone number listed in the meeting invitation and use the phone for the audio portion of the session.

While working with clients experiencing extremely poor Internet connectivity, you can begin to tackle the problem by lowering the bandwidth requirements by not screen-sharing materials.  This will limit your ability to use materials other than those you can share directly over your camera.  By asking your client to: sit as closely to the router as possible when using Wi-Fi, close any other programs running on his/her laptop, and consider attending teletherapy during a time when others in the household are not using the Internet are other suggestions to consider.

Experiencing technology troubles can result in frustration when trying to provide teletherapy services.  This post has discussed ways to troubleshoot potential problems.  From starting/restarting your computer’s system before beginning your teletherapy day, to asking the client to sit as closely to the router as possible when using Wi-Fi, such recommendations may help to decrease the number of  technology problems you experience.

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