What if you could get speech therapy without leaving your home? While in-home services have existed for many years, some speech therapists are moving into telepractices. They deliver speech therapy services via a computer video feed.
What Is Telepractice?
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), telepractice is the act of linking therapists with people who need speech therapy in order to provide services such as assessment or therapy.
“Services are conducted with interactive audio and video connection in real time to create an in-person experience similar to that achieved in a traditional encounter.” Instead of facing one another across a table, you face one another via a camera and screen.
Additionally, therapists can record and pass along video clips to another professional to view later if they can’t be present during the session. The clips can be used to document process with speech therapy.
How Does it Work?
People who want to try telepractice need a computer or mobile device and an internet connection. Practices, like RemoteSpeech, require users to download the program Zoom. Both the therapist and person who needs speech therapy will want to work in quiet, well-lit areas.
You book sessions for telepractice at a set time so both therapist and user can be at the computer or on a mobile device.
ASHA contains additional fact sheets and studies on telepractice if you want to learn more.
What Are the Benefits?
People can remain in a comfortable, familiar space rather than traveling to another building. They do not need to factor in travel time to get to appointments or depend on loved ones for transportation.
Telepractice opens up possibilities, especially for people who live outside metropolitan areas or have limited mobility. Therapy centers can hold support groups online via video feed, enabling people to continue to practice with each other even when they’re not at the center.
What Are the Drawbacks?
Of course, there is also the danger of miscommunication when two people are physically far apart. Therapists may miss subtle body language clues or nuances in tone over the connection. There will be times that people will need to wrestle with technology. Also, there is the frustration that this service will be out of reach for some people due to the equipment costs.
Have you ever tried speech therapy over the computer? Would you want to try this?
Image: Travis Isaacs via Flickr via Creative Commons license