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  • Writer's pictureKate Coyne

What Is Teletherapy and Does It Work?

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

Are you a busy parent? Do you get home just in time for dinner and bedtime routines? Is there simply not enough time to add in one more activity?


Perhaps you live an hour away from the nearest speech pathologist. Is this too far to reach? If any of these scenarios apply, then its time to consider adding telepractice, or online speech therapy, to your “shopping cart”.


When teletherapy is delivered with a good understanding of the technology and with plenty of available resources such as diagnostic and intervention web-based tools, it provides a more convenient experience for the client with the same high-quality care for a variety of patients with a wide range of ages and disorders (Whales, Skinner & Hayman, 2017).


A common misconception is that telepractice is not as interactive or personal than in-person therapy; however; Hall et al. [1], Lee et al.2, Whales et al.3and others have studied telepractice and have shown it to be as effective as face-to-face interactions, with the added benefit of being very convenient for the patient. Research conducted has proven that assessment, intervention, and consultative services performed using online speech therapy are effective and equivalent to in-person services (Hall et al, 2013).


The materials used for speech and language therapy are scanned in or web-based and at the click of a button, they can be shared electronically and appear right on the client’s computer screen. In fact, the activities and materials are so interactive and engaging that it has been reported that these high interest tasks often continue well beyond the therapy sessions. Apps can be used interchangeably with other tools that we use in therapy. For example, we can use apps to capture vocal loudness during voice therapy. It serves the same purpose as a sound pressure level meter, the tool that is used for in-person voice therapy. Children who enjoy technology love meeting online and are subsequently very motivated to participate in therapy.


In our experience as a speech pathologists using telelpractice to deliver speech, language, voice and fluency services since 2018, we feel that it is just as personal as in-person therapy and my relationships with my patients are deeply meaningful. The ability to reach clients who would otherwise not be receiving services because of a busy lifestyle, transportation issues or living too far is very rewarding. Another added benefit of telepractice is that treatment is delivered in the patient’s natural environment so we can see if modifications can be made to facilitate communication. We often have the opportunity to meet the family members, caregivers (or even the pets!) of the client which is important since they are tend to be involved in the patient’s daily communication encounters.


We hope that you will take a look at our website to learn more about our offerings and consider using Sunshine State Speech Therapy to meet your speech therapy needs. We are always happy to talk it over if you have any questions.


References:

Hall, N., Boisvert, M., & Steele, R. (2013). Telepractice in the Assessment and Treatment of Individuals with Aphasia: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Telerehabilitation, 5(1), 27–38.

Wales, D., Skinner, L., & Hayman, M. (2017). The Efficacy of Telehealth-Delivered Speech and Language Intervention for Primary School-Age Children: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Telerehabilitation, 9(1), 55–70.




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Nikki McDermott
Nikki McDermott
Nov 16, 2021

I’m not going to lie, I had my reservations and concerns about virtual speech sessions— but as evidenced by my kiddos — when done correctly, they work wonders!

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