Year-Long Pilot Program Suggests Telepractice is as Effective as Face-to-Face Therapy in Schools

Telepractice can specifically aid school districts that have limited access to SLPs. A new study conducted by researchers at Kent State University indicates that telepractice methods for providing speech-language therapy are just as effective as traditional on-site therapy for students. Thirty-eight children from four rural school districts in Ohio participated in a pilot program in which students completed half a year of telepractice therapy and half a year of traditional face-to-face therapy. Study results reveal that there was no significant difference between student progress achieved with telepractice and with face-to-face therapy. Moreover, parents and students reported overwhelming satisfaction with the telepractice program. Some critics of telepractice were concerned that speech-language therapy sessions would be canceled because of technical issues. During this lengthy program, however, 0% of therapy sessions were canceled due to technical difficulties, demonstrating that telepractice technology is reliable. This year-long study provides sound evidence that schools that face shortages of SLPs or that are located in rural areas stand to benefit immensely from telepractice services.

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