Virtual Therapy

Parents have called me to schedule sessions this week and declined services provided remotely, although insurance companies are providing coverage and many professionals are providing it. THAT is the impetus for this post and I think one that may be of help to you!

Is it worth getting a Virtual High Five???

I think that the novelty of what this actually has been confusing for consumers and we as practitioners are also learning,,,

One of the benefits, of telehealth is that if you are a parent, young adult, adult with any kind of need, virtual intervention enables professionals and patients/clients to have a venue for reaching out to one another. Interstate compacts are in the works which means for consumers that there won’t be in issue if you want to work with someone who is out of state. Check with the person you want to work with and they should be able to tell you if the state they are in has joined “the compact”. I will try and update information periodically as a part of this post. Things are changing quickly,

In my experience of the past year and in reading those of others in the industry on social media the aim of intervention has been met very effectively through remote services. With those of a very young age group, the caveat is that a caregiver MUST be present and actively involved. Indeed, parents have been posting testimonials about the benefits of virtual therapy

Another byproduct of virtual therapy has been the sense of empowerment and responsibility that is taken on the part of adults assisting students or older ones getting treatment for themselves. I would think that may even make virtual therapy sessions even more valuable,

In reviewing articles on the web related to the topic a good point is raised “The American Association of Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) has provided data through over 40 published, peer-reviewed studies to confirm that online speech therapy services produce outcomes that are as good as face-to-face therapy.  There is currently research regarding implementation of teletherapy for articulation therapy, fluency/stuttering therapy, expressive and receptive language therapy, as well as parent coaching and strategy implementation”. Another advantage of the use of telehealth is that

In the area of feeding therapy, the goals are medical in nature and I have been finding feedback from others who tell me that it has been very helpful. Through telehealth families have become much more focused on learning and then practice more with their children. Treatment becomes more meaningful as a result because you partner and to your credit and share the therapeutic experience in a more authentic way. Caregivers are not so much watching therapists; but learning by doing.

Current Professional Research about Effectiveness of Telehealth Services

The current review aimed to determine if telehealth-delivered SLP interventions are as effective as traditional in-person delivery for primary school-age children with speech and language difficulties. The reviewed research was limited and of variable quality, however, the evidence presented showed that telehealth is a promising service delivery method for delivering speech and language intervention services to this population. This alternative service delivery model has the potential to improve access to SLP services for children living in geographically remote areas, reducing travel time and alleviating the detrimental effects of communication difficulties on education, social participation and employment. Although some initial positive findings have been published, there is a need for further research using more rigorous study designs to further investigate the efficacy of telehealth-delivered speech and language intervention. and another reference was http://American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. National Outcomes Measurement System (NOMS): K-12 Speech-language pathology user’s guide. Maryland: American Speech Language Hearing Association; 2003. [Google Scholar].

For older students These results suggest comparable treatment outcomes between traditional service delivery and telepractice for treatment of children exhibiting speech sound disorders. The findings provide support for the use of tele practice for school-age children.

For those concerned about feeding The benefit of the use of telehealth for feeding therapy is also starting to be documented in the research

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) (20022005) states that one way to improve access to speech-language pathology services for underserved populations is through telepractice. Telepractice involves delivering speech-language pathology services at a distance through the use of telecommunications technology. Anecdotal evidence and empirical research to date suggest that services provided by telepractice are effective (Brennan, Georgeadis, Baron, & Barker, 2004Forducey, 2006Kully, 2000Mashima et al., 2003Mashima & Doarn, 2008).

In closing (for now): Virtual therapy, tele-health, remote intervention… it goes by a number of names I believe will be here to stay. As a result it is worth learning more about as an option. If you are a professional or parent, please leave comments so that others can benefit from reading this post and I will continue to be updating it as more information is available.. thanks! many are motivated to use it because of its convenience. Telehealth may be more time efficient for an ever evolving world. Children become excited when technology is used and become highly motivated with activities that may be used

A Systematic and Quality Review of Parent-Implemented Language and Communication Interventions Conducted via Telepractice
Read ASHA’s Article Summary | Go to Article