With waiting lists on hold, assessments incomplete and therapy dwindling, what options are there left to continue with your child's speech and language therapy?
Telehealth / teletherapy / telepractice are not new terms. In the US and Australia, this method is well established across a range of disciplines including speech therapy and audiology.
With the current Covid-19 crisis taking a full grip of Speech Mum's face to face appointments, I thought it was crucial to look into this more.
The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association defines telepractice as“the application of telecommunications technology to delivery of professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client, or clinician to clinician, for assessment, intervention, and/or consultation.” Telepractice typically occurs in real time and ‘face to face’ with a clinician via online videoconferencing.
A systematic review of the use of telehealth in speech, language and hearing sciences, (2015) within Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare found...
"Telehealth is essential in situations where the availability of a qualified professional is limited"
"The majority of the patients reported that they felt well supported in spite of not
having a therapist physically present"
The authors do explain that although the case studies were mainly using adult patients, they recommend teletherapy for children over 6.
The barriers identified are mainly around actual access to computers, internet connections and a secure platform to use.
The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists supports the use of Zoom and Skype as GDPR compliant.
For children over 5, that can sit table-top and participate in a video call, Speech Mum will offer parents continued assessment and therapy sessions.
For younger children, or those that cannot participate directly, Speech Mum will offer parent coaching sessions.
Let me know what you think!