telepractice for schools

Telepractice: Just a Bunch of Glorified Video Games?

The Perception

There are many in the educational world including School Administrators who believe that the advent and increasing usage of online speech therapy (telepractice) is an unfortunate development.  They believe that aside from providing inferior therapy as compared to the traditional onsite model, this entire “substitute” is nothing more than a bunch of video games lacking any real educational or therapeutic value.

Whereas the concern that their students receive the best therapy possible is laudable, their perception of telepractice could be characterized as incomplete at best.  However before responding to their criticism, let us first hear what speech therapy experts themselves have to say about telepractice.

ASHA Endorsement

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 135,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists and speech-language pathologists.  Based on the strong body of peer-reviewed research supporting telepractice as an effective method of delivering speech therapy service, ASHA recognizes telepractice as a valid means of service delivery.

Kent University Study

A 2011 study by Kent State University researchers compared students receiving traditional in-person therapy and those receiving telepractice in public school settings. They found that the outcomes for the telepractice group were equal or better than the in-person group, stating that:

“Students in both service models made significant improvements…with students in the telepractice group demonstrating a greater mastery of their Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals.”

Telepractice or On Site?

It goes without saying that neither ASHA nor The Kent University Study could make such unequivocal claims in support of telepractice would it be that telepractice is somehow inferior.  So, bottom line, what’s the difference between teletherapy and face to face therapy?

Get your free copy of our groundbreaking ebook: Teletherapy Diminishes Client Engagement: Debunking The Myths

Depending on how you look at, perhaps a lot, or maybe not so much. Telepractice is simply a modality. Online modalities are just that: modalities. It just a method by which treatment is delivered. It’s not a distinct “thing.”

The Reality

For better or for worse, the fact is that our children are growing up in a world increasingly defined by technology.  They’re comfortable with computers and enjoy the fun, game-based activities afforded by telepractice. The uniqueness, and perhaps even the greatness, when offering the close therapist child interaction through the online venue, is the seamless integration of that personal touch and technology.

For those students who find it easier to focus on the computer than when the therapist is in the same room, telepractice is simply a no-brainer. Distractions such as the way the therapist is sitting, disruptive clothing, or outer movements in the room are simply not concerns in during teletherapy.

For the others who could succeed either way, telepractice offers a new dimension by drawing upon and capitalizing on the advantages provided by the ever-expanding universe of websites and apps expressly designed to providing materials, games, exercises for the children.

But never do these amazing digital tools replace the one-on-one therapeutical interaction between clinician and child.  They are simply available to enhance it.  Speech therapy was initially designed and is meant to remain within the domain of the therapist working intimately with child, never to be given over to digital substitutes.

client engagement teletherapy

Does Telepractice Compromise Student Engagement?

Many schools considering online speech therapy (telepractice) are scared away by the fear that telepractice will compromise student engagement during the session.

Is there a way to ameliorate this concern? More specifically, what can a telepractice clinician do to ensure the high quality session that online therapy provides?

It’s Not Necessarily About Teletherapy

Truthfully many of the problems afflicting client engagement in the online venue are unrelated to telepractice.  In fact they exist even when the therapy is face to face.  And many of these challenges can be solved by following some simple guidelines.

Establishing Rapport is Critical

Before beginning, the therapist should interview the parent by asking 3 basic questions.

  1. Does your child have difficulty relating to new people, adults in particular?
  2. Is your child challenged in sustaining attention on a task?
  3. How does your child handle frustration?

Positive Reinforcement and Praise

As child development literature suggests, it is positive reinforcement such as praise that brings the best results. The therapist shouldn’t wait for a major breakthrough, but look for opportunities to applaud those little seemingly insignificant victories as well.

3 Tips to Praise Your Child the Right Way

  1. Be Specific: Being specific helps the child attune to his or her special effort or skill, and motivates the child to replicate it in the future.
  2. Praise the Process: Praise hard work, perseverance, and resilience, even if the child failed. Praising the process encourages future continued effort.
  3. Be Selective: Praise is most effective and meaningful when targeted at moments when the child is able to go beyond his or her normal behavior. Don’t overdo it!

Sometimes it Might be About Teletherapy

As mentioned above, while most common “client engagement” problems are unrelated to the online venue, clearly some only exist or are exacerbated because the therapy is being delivered online. What can be done to enhance the online session?

Get your free copy of our groundbreaking ebook: Teletherapy Diminishes Client Engagement: Debunking The Myths

Therapist Interaction Strategies and Tips

  1. Start the session by asking client to remove any distractions.
  2. Vary ways in which client participate by switching quickly between activities.
  3. Connect- Before beginning, ask the child what’s going on on in his/her life.
  4. Take short breaks allowing the child to stretch, go the bathroom, or just relax
  5. Relevance- Choose activities that help the child see why this skill is necessary.
  6. Share goals- Show progress to motivate the child to stay focused on success

Guess What? Teletherapy Actually Helps to Engage the Client

student engagement telepracticeReduces Distractions

The online venue can actually help to engage the student. For some kids it is easier to focus on the computer than when the therapist is in the room. Distractions such as the way the therapist is sitting, or peripheral movements don’t exist during teletherapy.

Games and Much, Much, More

Since our children are growing up in a world defined by technology, they love online video interactions and digital learning. They enjoy the fun, game-based activities afforded by teletherapy.

In fact there is an ever-expanding universe of websites and apps geared to providing materials, games, exercises, you name it, for practitioners. This assures that the student will enjoy a constant array of exciting choices, enhancing engagement in the therapy.

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Our New Groundbreaking Ebook on Teletherapy

Our very own Howard Goode recently published a groundbreaking e-book on teletherapy designed to help school districts and school administrators better understand how teletherapy can help their students.

Teletherapy is the online delivery of therapy services via secure, two-way video conferencing. Sessions are nearly identical to traditional speech sessions except for one thing: Instead of sitting together in the same room, students and therapists interact online.

The book, which is entitled Teletherapy Diminishes Client Engagement: Debunking the Myths, skillfully debunks three well-known myths about teletherapy. The three myths are that: (1) technical problems compromise online therapy, (2) client engagement will suffer without in-person sessions, and (3) teletherapy sacrifices the client-therapist relationship.

Through the use of detailed research and concrete evidence, Mr. Goode shines the light of truth on all three of these and exposes them to be inaccurate while simultaneously easing the minds of school administrators thinking about hiring teletherapists.

Alan Goode, CEO of Global Teletherapy, explained: “Our goal in writing this e-book was to help ease the worries of school administrators across the country and to expose some of the most common myths preventing them from getting involved with teletherapy.”

Get your free copy of our groundbreaking ebook: Teletherapy Diminishes Client Engagement: Debunking The Myths

In the first section, the book reveals that technological glitches can easily be avoided with enough preparation, a high-quality webcam, and having a great internet connection.

Later on in the book, the author reveals a huge insight: “In truth, many of the problems afflicting client engagement in the online venue aren’t related to the online venue at all but are problems inherent to therapy, and would be present even if the therapy was delivered face-to-face.”

Lastly, by pointing out two landmark studies in the therapy arena, Debunking the Myths shows that clients tend to participate more in online therapy sessions and are more engaged than in offline, in-person sessions. Download your FREE copy today: https://globalteletherapy.com/request-ebook.

CA online speech therapist job search

Top 3 Reasons to Become a California Online Speech Therapist

Online speech therapy refers to the use of telecommunication technology between a therapist and a client that allows for therapy sessions to be conducted from anywhere in the world.

Teletherapy also allows for a therapist to interact with his or her fellow clinicians and for providing assessments and evaluations of client performance.

Teletherapy is motivated by the growing need for online speech therapy services and it has become the go-to platform for therapists who can be of service to their clients in a quicker and more convenient way.

The state of California is in dire need of qualified speech therapists. Clinicians in California who specialize in online speech therapy are in a more advantageous position than ever to offer their professional services to children and generally anyone with speech disorders. If you’re a speech pathologist living in California, you may want to specialize in being an online speech therapist.

Here are the top three reasons you should become a California online speech therapist.

Reduced Costs

Your main worry about venturing into this line of work will likely be concerns about travel expenses and administration costs. If you want to set up your own online speech therapy workplace, you are in a more advantageous position to do it because you can work in the convenience of your home, or anywhere you are comfortable, and on your own time.

Administration costs are greatly reduced since you can easily manage your own schedule and it gives you an opportunity to have additional free time. Think about it: no more visiting every single client you have to check on his or her progress. You also won’t need to have an office space for them to come to you.

Get your free copy of our groundbreaking ebook: Teletherapy Diminishes Client Engagement: Debunking The Myths

Flexibility

Doing online speech therapy in California will ensure that you have access to many clients despite their physical location. It also ensures that those who live very far away can reach you at their scheduled time.

In terms of flexibility, teletherapy ensures that you will be the one controlling your schedule and allows you to allocate the appropriate amount of time to each client and even be able to assess their progress quickly.

Convenience

Since many people prefer to converse over the Internet, what better way than to have a therapy session online? This is convenient for you as a speech therapist in California especially when most of your clients are children. After all, kids are fascinated by the idea of getting assistance through the Internet and love interactive games, which teletherapy for sure utilizes.

Another advantage of being an online speech therapist is that it is very easy to set up and establish your work space because all you need is a computer, Internet connection, webcam and audio headset.

Ultimately, teletherapy has been widely approved all over the country and is gaining a lot of ground. If you are an SLP living in California, now’s the time to hop on the bandwagon and apply for a job as an online speech therapist.