Clinical services are based on the unique needs of each individual client. This means telepractice may not be appropriate in all circumstances or for all clients. At Worldwide Speech we offer free consultations to see if telepractice/telehealth is a good fit for our potential clients. You may wonder what exactly a “good fit” means.
Our speech therapy services, special education services and reading intervention follow guidelines provided by ASHA for client selection. The client’s culture, education level, age and other characteristics may influence the appropriateness of speech-language services, reading intervention, and special education services provided via telepractice.
It is important for us to consider the impact of the following factors on the client’s ability to participate in online therapy:
- Physical and sensory characteristics such as hearing ability, visual ability, ability to operate a keyboard, and sitting tolerance.
- Cognitive, behavioral, and/or motivational characteristics such as level of cognitive functioning, ability to maintain attention, ability to sit still in front of the camera, and willingness of the client/or family to receive services via telepractice.
- Communication abilities such as the ability to respond to verbal directions or commands, intelligible speech without excessive need for clarification, necessity of an interpreter for sessions, or use of an AAC device that requires different equipment or set up.
- Client’s support resources such as availability of technology, access to and availability of resources (e.g. computer, bandwidth, facilitator), a quiet room with minimal distractions, and ability of the client and/or facilitator to operate and trouble shoot technology and transmission.
Regarding our occupational services, similar characteristics are taken into consideration. In addition, AOTA provides the following guidelines for client selection:
- Because an extender (e.g. family member or support staff) may need to be present during the session, it is important that the client feels comfortable having a third party present.
- Clients or extenders must be comfortable and competent with using technology.
In telepractice/telehealth, best practice is to consider all of these factors prior to the start of therapy. In some cases, it takes a few treatment sessions to recognize limitations. However, most clients can be serviced via telepractice/telehealth with proper support!
If you have any further questions about whether telepractice/telehealth is right for you and your child, we would be happy to speak with you. Be sure to check out our blog next week to learn how we adapt therapy materials for telepractice!
- (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aota.org/Practice/Manage/telehealth.aspxAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
- (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.asha.org/PRPSpecificTopic.aspx?folderid=8589934956§ion#Client_Selection
- Szwabowski, A. (2019, April 2). Clients In Speech Telepractice: Limitations To Consider. Retrieved from https://www.thewhimsicalword.com/single-post/2019/03/19/Clients-In-Speech-Telepractice-Limitations-To-Consider