telepractice teletherapy

Telepractice: The Top Benefits for Parents (Part I)

The concern of most parents regarding telepractice (online speech therapy) is quite simple.  “Will my child receive the quality session as meeting with the therapist face to face?”  Research shows that not only is a telepractice often of similar and sometimes even of superior quality to face to face, but there are many other benefits for the parent as well.

1. Telepractice eliminate transportation concerns

A significant problem for families who don’t own a car or have easy access to another’s vehicle or public transportation is struggling to show up at appointments on time. Guess what, when the therapy is brought right into the comfort of your own home, this concern is no more. Other than accounting for the unexpected, there is no reason ever to miss an appointment.

2. Telepractice reduces hassles

If the child receiving the therapy is an only child, this won’t be a concern. But if there are siblings to bring along to the appointment as well, the entire experience can quickly become an ordeal. Getting them into the car, strapping them into the car seat, keeping them happy during the ride, taking them out of the car seat and them keeping them well behaved during the session is enough to drive any parent crazy. With telepractice, this hassle goes by the wayside.

3. Telepractice is cost effective

Between saving on the gas going to and from the therapy session, and the savings passed along from the therapist who isn’t beset by the operating expenses incurred by the clinic (rental, utilities, water, etc.), telepractice offers real savings. The comfort of both your child and the therapist operating from home will keep your wallet better padded as well.

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4. Telepractice reduces absences

Whenever your child isn’t feeling well, you as the parent will undoubtedly hesitate to bring the child in for the session. These absences invariably will take a toll on the consistency of the therapy and more often than not affect the progress of your child. But if your child is “attending” the session from your home, as long as she can sit up in bed the show will go on.

5. Telepractice enhances the realization of goals

A common complaint heard from parents is that when the clinician enthusiastically explains the child’s progress, the parent will respond, “But he doesn’t do any of that at home.” And often it is true. Sometimes it is quite difficult to reproduce the success of a clinical session.

Enter telepractice. When the “environment” of the therapy session is the home, extending the session’s progress is that much easier. The necessary integration from the magic of the clinical session into everyday life which is true objective of the therapy itself becomes that much more possible when the “clinic” and the home are one and the same.
Simply put, it is gratifying for many parents to learn that the plethora of benefits of telepractice is not limited to the child and the therapist, but as a parent, some of those benefits are theirs to claim as well!

teletherapy telepractice

Telepractice: Solving the 3 Biggest Drawbacks of Being a SLP

Speech pathologists treat children with various communication disorders and speech impediments such as stuttering and even swallowing problems. The sheer variety of interventions continues to grow. Whether it be a congenital issue, an accident or disease, the tools available to a qualified SLP can facilitate practical solutions to the most challenging speech challenges.
However, there are problems.  Below are some of the most common faced by SLPs.

1. Caseload Overload

As those familiar with the field of speech therapy know, the responsibilities of a speech therapist are many and varied.  From accurate assessment to clinical sessions, to completing all of the necessary documentation be it medical forms or insurance documents, your ordinary speech therapist is kept plenty busy.
The problem is that when funding is reduced, there are fewer speech pathologists to care for the same number of clients, resulting in higher caseloads. As is well known in any field, heavy workloads are the perfect recipe for burnout which is no one’s best interest.  The question is how can those heavy caseloads be alleviated?
Enter telepractice.  With telepractice, those heavy caseloads often become a thing of the past.  The online venue removes the barriers of geography and time.  Instead of being bound to local availability, which is especially problematic in rural areas where there is a shortage of talent, trained and credentialed therapists can be assigned from anywhere in the country.

2. Shrinking Employment

Let’s face it.  It’s about money.  Budget cuts often result in cutbacks in the workforce.  When school districts are faced with imploding budgets, they will hire less SLPs.  So SLPs are at the mercy of the local communities they serve.  In fact, ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) has reported that only half of SLPs have full-time employment.
But let’s imagine that a new model could be created that would liberate SLPs from their local markets. Telepractice is that model.  When qualified speech pathologists choose to work the telepractice venue, regarding opportunity, the sky is the limit.  It is no longer a question of what needs exist in any particular area, but now the entire country becomes the marketplace.

3. Paperwork Monotony

It wouldn’t be so terrible if helping their clients with speech and language difficulties was the totality of the SLPs work.  But unfortunately, the clinical session is only part of the job.  Clerical work is also demanded. While some SLPs don’t mind this sometimes tedious task, others find it to be a real drag.  And these cumbersome activities are enough to sour the entire experience.
The same technology that is at the core of telepractice offers many beautiful solutions to the paperwork dilemma as well. Not only is the documenting process automated, but it has become fully integrated into the clinical session as well.  Even homework is assigned, completed and documented online to eliminate this tedious task as well for the therapist.

Telepractice to the Rescue

As telepractice continues to grow in popularity around the country, many see it as a win-win-win. Often the children are better serviced.  School administrators appreciate the convenience, control and cost savings. And the speech therapists are also benefiting as has been delineated above.  In fact, for many therapists telepractice is a dream come true!
telepractice

4 Ways Telepractice Can Help Your Child (Part 2)

The plethora benefits of telepractice are becoming known to more people all the time.  Control, cost, and convenience are just the ones that are the most widely known.  However many of those same folks are somewhat less versed in understanding the broad array of speech and language-related problems that telepractice addresses. The rule of thumb is that if an onsite therapist can help, telepractice can as well, and sometimes even better.

 

1.  Did you know that telepractice can help swallowing/feeding issues?

 

While it may be difficult to believe, telepractice clinicians are often trained in helping children with swallowing and feeding issues in conjunction with their speech and language training. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. SLP education and training includes gaining a comprehensive knowledge of both physiology and function of the oral cavity.

 

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2. Social/Pragmatic Language

Social/Pragmatic language is commonly understood to mean the manner that individuals utilize to communicate with one another.  This breaks down to three areas of communication:
  • Communicating orally in different ways (greeting other people, requesting something, agreeing or protesting with what has been said, or making inquiries)
  • Modifying the way we speak to different people appropriately (for example talking differently to an adult than to a child, or adjusting volume between outside and inside)
  • Adhering to proper conversation etiquette (comprehending and utilizing both nonverbal and verbal cues, remaining on topic, not interrupting while another is speaking)
Trained telepractice therapists can teach your child how to engage in conversation appropriately which can have a significant impact on your child’s social comfort and self-confidence.

 

3. Skills Related to Cognitive-Communication

When there is an impairment in those processes in cognition related to conceptual reasoning, awareness or memory, or even executive functioning this could indicate what is known as a cognitive-communication disorder.  These can be as a result of head-related injury or disease, or can be congenital in origin–the child was born like this.  Both telepractice and SLPs can help build the requisite skills and teach the child how to compensate for the deficit.

 

4. Empowering parents how to help their children

It goes without saying that the most critical function that a SLP can serve is to educate the parent as to how to most effectively empower the child. Let’s face it, while the telepractice speech-language pathologist will typically spend no more than an hour per week with the child, the parent, on the other hand, will spend hours and hours interacting with the kid.
From the time the child awakens in the morning until he/she is put to bed to go to sleep, the parent is continuously interacting.  Getting dressed, eating breakfast, waiting for carpool before going to school. And when the child comes home, there are different interactions such as talking about the day, reading to him/her, supper, bathing, and putting the child down to sleep for the night.
These daily routines provide a myriad of opportunities to communicate. When the parent is empowered with the knowledge, skills, and confidence, the PARENT becomes the best speech therapist the child could ever want.  Be sure to look at that telepractice SLP as more than just your child’s therapist.  She is your teacher as well. Together you can transform your child’s life.  
telepractice helps children

5 Ways Telepractice Can Help Your Child (Part 1)

The benefits of online speech therapy commonly referred to as telepractice are well-known. Convenience, cost, and control of when sessions will be held are to mention but a few. What may be less apparent is the sheer variety of speech and language problems that can be addressed by telepractice. Simply put, if an onsite speech therapist can do it, telepractice can as well.

1. Telepractice can help articulation skills and speech intelligibility

The physical ability to move the palate, tongue, jaw, and lips combine to bring articulation. These movements produce the sounds that comprise speech, which is technically known as phonemes. Although most people just talk, when there is a problem, the speech therapist whether onsite or by way of telepractice must identify each component to be of any help.

Very much related to articulation skills is speech intelligibility, a term used to refer to the ease or difficulty of understanding another’s speech. A compromise in any of the variety of skills necessary for articulation will reduce intelligibility. SLPs are trained to teach children how to create specific sounds they may be having trouble pronouncing themselves.

2. Language Skills and the art of expression

It is essential to understand the difference between speech skills on the one hand and language skills on the other. Speech is the ability to marshal the physical motor skills involved in making specific sounds. Language is the symbolism by which we convey a message. This symbolism includes not only oral and written expressions but body language as well.

So when we talk about expressive language, we are referring to what the child is “saying” with the words he/she is using. SLPs trained in telepractice can help children learn new ways of expressing themselves such as expanding their vocabulary or by teaching them new ways to express the same idea. In this way, an SLP can significantly enhance a child’s ability to communicate.

3. Listening or Receptive Language Skills

While language skills are those needed by your child to communicate, receptive language skills are required first to hear and then understand communication from others. In other words receptive language is the child’s ability to understand. It is often the case that young children are stronger when it comes to an understanding than expressing themselves. An SLP through the venue of telepractice can help children to answer questions and follow directions.

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4. Stuttering and fluency in speech

While practically everyone experiences interruptions in the fluency of their speech, when it becomes habitual, it may indicate a stuttering problem. For many stuttering begins as a young child so that intervention early on can make a world of difference as the child grows and develops.

SLPs through the medium of telepractice have seen wonderful results in arresting this potentially crippling malady. They are trained to implement strategies that go beyond the speech part of stuttering and address the behaviors and anxiety that often are at the root of the stuttering problem.

5. Voice quality

Sometimes a child suffers from a disorder that affects the standard way to make sounds. Hoarseness which is commonly found among children is often caused by abusing the vocal cords. SLPs can teach their students how to express themselves in “gentler” ways that won’t create the strain that is destroying their voice quality.

Only the beginning

These are just some of the ways that an SLP can help your child through the marvels of telepractice. Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out other ways that an SLP can improve your child’s speech and language skills and in so doing make a significant impact on his/her life!