The last few months have been unprecedented times for us all with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forcing us to review every part of our lives, including ourSpeech Therapyand Language Pathology services. However, like many other health professions, we have been able to quickly adapt and provide alternative service delivery in the form of telehealth to maximise health and safety to families who cannot or choose to not currently attend face to face services.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is where health services are provided online through video conferencing. This method of service delivery was established in the 1960’s within the field of medicine for emergencies and to support rural communities. Within the allied health sector, telehealth continues to be used today to support clients in rural communities to gain access to their therapy needs.
Is telehealth as good as face to face sessions when it comes to something like Speech Therapy?
Research over the years suggests that telehealth works for children with articulation difficulties, speech sound disorders, language delay and disorders, early language development, literacy delays and parent training for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Research has additionally found no significant difference in therapy gains between face to face versus telehealth sessions with children targeting speech and language difficulties. So, if you do need to access speech therapy services for your child, you can be sure that the standard of care will remain the same via telehealth.
Is my child suited for telehealth?
Telehealth is suitable for most clients accessing speech therapyservices. For children who can sit and engage with the speech pathologist via video, this can be a fun and exciting way to complete therapy. For children who may struggle with engaging via video, therapy will focus on parent training and providing feedback as the parent implements therapy activities with their child. Parent training is overall an essential part of speech pathology services where the parent learns the therapy activities to practice with their child at home during the week. As identified by the research, consistent daily practice of speech pathology goals is required to achieve therapy gains. Therefore, it is important for parents to have a good understanding of how to implement their child’s speech therapy activities to practice throughout the week.
Communication delays and disorders can have a significant impact both socially and academically. It is important for children to be able to access speech pathology services to support their development, whether that is via telehealth or face to face. If you have any further queries regarding telehealth and speech therapy, please give us a call.