What are the benefits of receiving teletherapy services?
Therapy services provided by a licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist experienced using a variety of treatments for various populations (i.e., preschool-, school-based, adult-, and/or geriatric)
- Individualized therapy programs
- Flexible scheduling to meet clients’, students’, and teachers’ needs
- Secure network connections
- Easy to use, real-time, two-way interactive technology
- Not having to travel
- Not having to drive to sessions during inclement weather
- Loved-ones observing sessions when requested ahead of time (to survey the teletherapy approach being used)
- This helps with the generalization of skills learned during treatment and promotes practice outside of the actual teletherapy session
- Use of engaging, highly personalized, and highly interactive therapy materials
and many other reasons…
Telepractice Delivers Speech/Language Services
By Erica Zollman, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
What is telepractice?
Telepractice is delivering speech/language therapy using technology when the service provider (speech-language pathologist) is in a different location than the client. Other names for telepractice include telespeech, teleaudiology, speech teletherapy, or telerehabilitation. Clinicians report using telepractice to address multiple speech and language disorders, including articulation disorders, autism, dysarthria, language disorders, cognitive disorders, dysphagia, and voice disorders (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2010).
What are the benefits of using telepractice?
In many areas, there is a shortage of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to provide services both in school systems and medical facilities. Telepractice “offers the potential to deliver services in underserved and remote/rural geographic areas where they are not available and in areas with shortages of specialists” (Mashima & Doarn, 2008, p. 1106). Mashima and Doarn also found that telepractice can increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of treatment while providing homebound patients with appropriate therapy (2008, p. 1106). Clinicians report several benefits of using telepractice. Geurin and Marion-Wilson report that students made adequate progress on IEP goals and objectives when using telepractice. Additionally, they report that adolescents find the technology motivating and frequently prefer telepractice to more traditional speech therapy services (2013).
How does telepractice work?
Telepractice speech/language services utilize a variety of technology. Smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, laptop computers, and business-class video conferencing tools connect speech-language pathologists and clients (Guerin S., Marion-Wilson., T., 2013).
Telepractice speech therapy sessions fall into two categories: synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous telepractice occurs in real-time and closely resembles video chat; the SLP and client interaction to share audio, video, data, and images. In an asynchronous telepractice, SLPs and clients record and store audio, video, data, and/or images, and then forward the stored data for viewing without any real-time interaction (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2010).
Will patients receive the same quality of service?
Regardless of the service delivery model (telepractice or face-to-face), SLPs must comply with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) standards, code of ethics, roles, responsibilities, and preferred practice patterns (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2010).
Where do telepractice services occur?
Anywhere! Telepractice takes place in schools, medical centers, child-care centers, outpatient clinics, and corporate settings. In many cases, a trained facilitator must be present with the client during therapy sessions (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2010).
Who is a good candidate for telepractice?
Telepractice is not appropriate for all situations. Clinicians must carefully consider a client’s physical and sensory characteristics, cognitive functioning, behavior, communication skills, and level of support prior to initiation services.
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