Implementing online speech therapy takes more than assessing school budgets and determining logistics. In order for the program to be successful, parents and students also need to buy in. Their two main concerns are typically whether students can have the same interaction with an online speech language pathologist (SLP) as they do in-person, and whether online therapy really works.
During a recent SPED Ahead webinar titled, “Rural County Tries A New Approach To Related Services: Online Speech Language Therapy,” attendees had the opportunity to hear a student’s first-hand experience about switching to online speech therapy.
When asked for her first impression of online speech therapy, Hayley, a 10-year old student from Benton County, Tennessee who uses PresenceLearning’s online speech therapy, was slightly hesitant. “When I first found out about it, it was weird,” said Hayley.
However, after working with her SLP via teleconferencing, Hayley says she thinks working with an online SLP is just as interactive as working with a therapist on site. “They are both fun and play games with me to work on the letter ‘r’,” said Hayley. “They both are really nice and are helping me in the same way.” Hayley’s PresenceLearning SLP reports that Hayley has made great progress and is very close to dismissal from speech therapy.
As far as effectiveness, more than 40 academic studies completed over 20 years have shown that online speech therapy is a reliable supplement to – or replacement for – traditional onsite therapy. In 1997, the Mayo Clinic found that “telemedicine evaluations can be reliable, beneficial, and acceptable to patients with a variety of acquired speech and language disorders, both in rural settings and within large multidisciplinary medical settings.” To further validate its effectiveness, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) supports online therapy as “an effective method of delivering speech therapy service.”
To listen to Hayley’s full testimonial, as well as the rest of the SPED Ahead webinar, click here.