What is Teletherapy and is it effective?

An Examination of the Effectiveness of Online Speech-Language Therapy

Tele-therapy is remote delivery of therapeutic interventions. In comparison to face-to-face therapy the affordability and convenience of tele-therapy is a huge draw for most clients. 

Valeo provides engaging direct online therapy services for children in need of help. Highly trained therapists at Valeo work with parents and caregivers to support children cope with various difficulties and challenges.

Effectiveness of Online Speech-Language Therapy?

Tele-therapy has been successfully used to provide speech-language therapy to children all across the world. Various studies have been conducted to compare virtual provision of therapy to traditional face-to-face therapy and most of the evidence from research suggests that it is as effective as therapy provided in person. Not only is virtual therapy effective in achieving functional outcomes but it is also time and cost saving in comparison to other modalities.

In a recent study in Brazil, it was concluded that tele-health services have various advantages over traditional face-to-face therapy (Regina Molini-Avejonas et al., 2015). However, the study also recognised the barriers that still need to be overcome, such as technology, training, regulation, acceptance and recognition of tele-therapy as a viable practice by some professionals. For example, in the case of UK healthcare providers and families in some areas usually do not have the proper hardware or stable internet connections to successfully conduct virtual therapy sessions.  In addition to that some Speech and Language practitioners that still struggle with accepting virtual provision of speech-language therapeutic interventions despite evidence suggesting otherwise.

Mike R. Schoenberg et al conducted a study that compared 19 participants who received computer-based therapy with 20 participants who received face-to-face speech–language rehabilitation. The study compared the functional outcomes, costs, time spent on the two modalities. It was concluded that the computer-based tele-therapy program provided similar functional outcomes as face-to-face speech–language therapy (Schoenberg et al., 2008)

Furthermore, in a study conducted by Alison McCullough in Belfast on Viability and Effectiveness of Tele-therapy For Pre-School Children with Special Needs, it was concluded that tele-therapy is effective in achieving the desired results. In addition to that parents reported increased knowledge and confidence in developing their child's speech, language and communication skills with tele-therapy (McCullough, 2001)

Recent studies have shown that tele-therapy is not only used for provision of speech-language therapy services but also is being successfully used to deliver parent and teacher training for speech-language pathology.

Speech Therapy

Speech therapy most commonly involves improving articulation, fluency and production of sounds and words. An SLP usually teaches oral-motor placement in order to improve production of specific sounds. In addition to improving speech therapy can also entail reducing anxiety associated with speech.

Children who might benefit from Speech therapy

A child might be in need of speech therapy if they:

  • are highly inarticulate
  • have verbal apraxia
  • have a history of hearing loss or impairment
  • face cognitive or developmental delays
  • have oro-facial anomalies
  • have a disordered phonological system
How effective is online Speech therapy?

Tele-therapy has been successfully used to provide speech-language therapy to children all across the world. Various studies have been conducted to compare virtual provision of therapy to traditional face-to-face therapy and evidence suggests that it is as effective as therapy provided in person. Not only is virtual therapy effective in achieving functional outcomes, it also has various advantages over traditional face to face therapy such as ease of receiving therapy, time and cost saving, and ability to work with the best therapists regardless of your location. 

Mike R. Schoenberg et al conducted a study that compared 19 participants who received computer-based therapy with 20 participants who received face-to-face speech–language rehabilitation. The study compared the functional outcomes, costs, and time spent. It concluded that the online-based tele-therapy program provided similar functional outcomes as face-to-face speech–language therapy (Schoenberg et al., 2008). Similar study conducted in Ohio school districts (Grogan Johnson et al in 2013) concluded that students in both service delivery models made significant improvements in speech sound production. Furthermore, students in the tele-health condition showed greater achievement of goals set before therapy. 

In a study conducted by Alison McCullough in Belfast on Viability and Effectiveness of Tele-therapy For Pre-School Children with Special Needs, it was concluded that parents reported increased knowledge and confidence in developing their child's speech, language and communication skills with tele-therapy (McCullough, 2001)

Tele-therapy is not only used for provision of speech-language therapy services but also is being successfully used to deliver parent and teacher training for speech-language pathology.

Conclusion

Advancements in videoconferencing and networking technologies in the current times presents us with opportunities to deliver different services to people in the comfort of their homes. Tele-therapy is a great way to provide speech-language therapy services to patients at home or at school with greater ease and effectiveness. Research conducted to assess the effectiveness of virtual therapy services have shown great results in favour of such delivery models for speech-language therapy.


Valeo is designed by therapists to make your lives easier as it provides quality speech-language therapy to your children through interactive and engaging sessions in the comfort of your homes.

References:
  1. Brennan, D., Georgeadis, A., & Baron, C. (2002). Telerehabilitation Tools for the Provision of Remote Speech-Language Treatment. Topics In Stroke Rehabilitation, 8(4), 71-78. https://doi.org/10.1310/u7kv-dy7u-q6qp-lvbp
  1. Gabel, R., Grogan-Johnson, S., Alvares, R., Bechstein, L., & Taylor, J. (2013). A Field Study of Telepractice for School Intervention Using the ASHA NOMS K-12 Database. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 35(1), 44-53. https://doi.org/10.1177/1525740113503035
  1. Grogan-Johnson, S., Schmidt, A., Schenker, J., Alvares, R., Rowan, L., & Taylor, J. (2013). A Comparison of Speech Sound Intervention Delivered by Telepractice and Side-by-Side Service Delivery Models. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 34(4), 210-220. https://doi.org/10.1177/1525740113484965
  1. Lindgren, S., Wacker, D., Suess, A., Schieltz, K., Pelzel, K., & Kopelman, T. et al. (2016). Telehealth and Autism: Treating Challenging Behavior at Lower Cost. PEDIATRICS, 137(Supplement), S167-S175. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2015-2851o
  1. McCullough, A. (2001). Viability and Effectiveness of Teletherapy for Pre-School Children with Special Needs. International Journal Of Language & Communication Disorders, 36(s1), 321-326. https://doi.org/10.3109/13682820109177905
  1. Regina Molini-Avejonas, D., Rondon-Melo, S., de La Higuera Amato, C., & Samelli, A. (2015). A systematic review of the use of telehealth in speech, language and hearing sciences. Journal Of Telemedicine And Telecare, 21(7), 367-376. https://doi.org/10.1177/1357633x15583215
  2. Schoenberg, M., Ruwe, W., Dawson, K., McDonald, N., Houston, B., & Forducey, P. (2008). Comparison of functional outcomes and treatment cost between a computer-based cognitive rehabilitation teletherapy program and a face-to-face rehabilitation program. Professional Psychology: Research And Practice, 39(2), 169-175. https://doi.org/10.1037/0735-7028.39.2.169

Valeo Therapy

Valeo provides engaging direct online therapy services for children in need of help. Highly trained therapists at Valeo work with parents and caregivers to support children cope with various difficulties and challenges.

Valeo provides therapists and clients with a video conferencing platform, designed specially to cater to the needs of children and parents working with speech-language, communication, occupational and mental-health related difficulties.

Speech-Language Therapy

Speech language therapy entails assessment and treatment of speech, language, and communication delays and disorders. A speech language pathologist (SLP) uses specialised treatment strategies to treat some of the following common diagnoses:

  • Articulation disorders
  • Auditory processing disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Receptive and Expressive language delays
  • Social language delays
  • Fluency issues / Stuttering
  • Developmental speech and language delays
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