Keeping Your Technology Updated for Online Speech Therapy
Teletherapy opens up the world of speech and language support for many students. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), telepractice must include the same service that could be provided during an in-person session. To make sure that this happens, it is essential for speech-language pathologists and participants to have technology which is up to date.
Importance of Proper Hardware and Peripheral Devices
A regular computer will not be sufficient to work with students at a distance. The computer must have several components to make teletherapy work properly. Since hearing both the therapist and student during a session is essential, the audio and video must be very good quality. Determine if you will need a camera which has pan-tilt-zoom capabilities and see what the minimum resolution you need for the software. If the built-in camera will not suffice, determine if the computer will be able to work properly with an external peripheral device. A pivoting camera with zoom will allow a closer view of the therapist’s mouth to help kids with articulation and more.
Sound is an integral component of a speech and language session. Microphones and speakers built into computers are often not a good enough quality. It may be necessary to have USB or Bluetooth speakers that boost the sound quality. An external microphone or a headset may make it easier to talk into and make sure that voices are picked up properly. External Bluetooth headphones also have the added advantage of no cords which can limit student movement.
Touchscreens are also a must-have. This allows therapists and students to model information while screen sharing. They can interact easier while using specific software when this is available. Many laptops are also available with touchscreens, but it does increase the price.
Strong Internet Connectivity
Dependable and strong internet connectivity is critical to making online therapy sessions work. If the internet signal is weak, it will affect the clarity of the audio and video. Network connection speed needs to be between 3-5 MB for upload and download. This will allow for the best connection and screen sharing ability with a variety of software.
Is there enough bandwidth in your building or school? If there are too many users on the network, it may have a negative impact on sessions. High connections speeds are often required for high-definition video and multi-screen options. If data speed is slow, it will make video lag or buffer. This makes it next to impossible for any participants to hear the audio clearly. When speech is the goal, this needs to be addressed ahead of time with those in charge of network speed and access.
When the proper software, peripherals, and internet connectivity are in place, along with VocoVision, therapists and students will be all set! This will allow for productive sessions where everyone will work together on building speech skills and obtaining goals. Teletherapy will open the doors to success in areas like articulation, fluency, pragmatics, apraxia, and more.