Five Telepractice Myths & Truths
Telepractice is becoming a popular speech therapy option for patients and providers alike. With the ability to provide speech therapy from thousands of miles away, more and more speech-language pathologists are choosing the office or home environment for their practices. Even so, there are still many misconceptions about telepractice and teletherapy. Here are five myths and truths about online speech therapy:
Myth: Finding time for telepractice is difficult.
Truth: There are two ways to provide telepractice: “real-time” (synchronous) or “offline” (asynchronous). Synchronous sessions are conducted live between a provider and the patient where as asynchronous sessions consist of pre-recorded practice materials. Both can be scheduled according to a provider’s specific needs. With virtually no travel time or costs involved, finding time for telepractice can actually be quite easy.
Myth: Only specific children in specific areas are eligible for therapy via telepractice.
Truth: Telepractice has mostly been used for rural or remote populations. Because of this, many believe that only these populations are eligible or can get the most benefit out of online therapy sessions. In reality, telepractice covers a lot of venues including medical centers, schools and universities, patients’ homes, childcare centers, corporate settings, and many more. With the right communication tools and software, telepractice can be utilized for virtually anyone, regardless of location.
Myth: Children do not react well to telepractice intervention.
Truth: In a study conducted in April 2013, researchers found no significant differences in post-intervention assessments of children who received therapy side-by-side with a therapist versus those who received intervention by telepractice.¹ Most notably, both groups made improvements in their speech and sound production during the study at close to the same rate.
Myth: It’s hard to avoid distractions during teletherapy sessions.
Truth: Teletherapy sessions are no different than any other activities requiring full attention. The key to a successful teletherapy session is to conduct it in a place where there are few distractions and to ensure that all tools and technologies are working properly.
Myth: Telepractice is unsafe.
Truth: Legitimate telepractices that offer online speech therapy use encrypted programs that adhere to HIPPA safeguards and allow patients to modify materials according to specific needs. In no way are telepracticing SLPs excused from delivering the same quality of services that are required for in-person speech professionals.
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