So, things are a little weird right now, huh?
The world is changing, and many of us in the health services industry aren’t able to practice right now.
However, some of us – like speech therapists – can still do most of our work.
How, you may ask?
After all, safe practices around social distancing tell us to keep to ourselves as much as possible.
That’s still true, but speech therapy services online via teletherapy can be just as effective as in person treatments.
Let’s take a closer look at speech teletherapy, and how you can use it to continue your treatments even through the midst of the coronavirus crisis and beyond.
RELATED: Frequently Asked Questions About Speech Teletherapy
What Is Speech Pathology Teletherapy?
If you’ve ever seen a speech language therapist in person before – for aerodigestive disorders, for Parkinson’s disease, for speech sound disorders, or any other condition – you’ll be familiar with speech pathology teletherapy treatments.
RELATED: Top Signs Your Child Has A Speech Disorder
Speech pathology teletherapy is the same therapy session you’ve always been familiar with.
The only real difference is that it’s done through a video conference over the internet.
If you’ve ever used Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, or any other type of video chat or conference software, it’s essentially the same thing.
Because the majority of speech therapy is done through talk and demonstration, it can usually be done via teletherapy with no decrease in effectiveness.
RELATED: Frequently Asked Questions About Speech Therapy
How Does Speech Pathology Teletherapy Work?
Teletherapy sessions work just about the same way your regular session works.
You’ll schedule your appointment with a therapist, at a time that works for the both of you.
Then, when the time comes, you’ll log onto the video conference.
Here at District Speech, we use Zoom – it’s easy to use and has secure, end to end encryption to keep our session private.
We’ll be able to see and hear each other in real time, interact with each other, and most importantly, work through your session like we normally would.
In fact, other than the two of us not being in the same room, there’s really no difference between a teletherapy session and a traditional speech language pathology session.
Benefits Of Speech Pathology Teletherapy Sessions?
Wondering how speech pathology teletherapy sessions might look?
Are you concerned they might not be as effective as traditional sessions?
Have you been trying to figure out how to fit a speech therapy session into your schedule, and had difficulty doing so?
If so, read on to find out the benefits of speech teletherapy.
1. It Observes Proper Social Distancing Protocols
The coronavirus is flipping everything upside down.
According to current advice from the World Health Organization, it’s a good idea to maintain social distancing during this outbreak.
That means staying at least 6 feet away from people at all times.
Naturally, if you’re coming to a speech language pathology appointment, maintaining that social distancing can be difficult.
However, teletherapy sessions can help you to continue your speech therapy progress uninterrupted while maintaining your health.
Note – the above advice is accurate as of the time of this writing (March 26th, 2020), but things are changing quickly.
Make sure to get your information on the coronavirus from up to date sources.
We’re qualified to provide advice on speech therapy, but not viral infections.
2. It’s More Flexible
We’re all busy.
It’s a busy world, and for most of us, it just seems to be getting busier.
So it can sometimes be difficult to make the time for a speech therapy session.
It’s cold out, you need to find a sitter for the kids, you can’t get away from work, it takes too long to drive there – there are a million different reasons to skip your speech therapy session.
Speech teletherapy sessions avoid all that.
Rather than having to transit or drive all the way to our downtown DC speech therapy clinic, you can enjoy your treatments from the comfort of your home, your office, or even in the middle of a park if that’s what you’d like.
That can make scheduling a speech therapy appointment a lot easier.
3. It Offers A Safer Environment – Your Home
For some people, a speech therapy session can induce a lot of anxiety and fear.
RELATED: Can Speech Therapy Improve Mental Health?
This is true for adult speech therapy sessions – many people are ashamed of their stutter disorder, their learning disability, or their heavy accent and the difficulties these issues cause them in day to day life.
It’s also true for speech therapy sessions for children – we do our best to provide an environment where kids feel safe and at ease, but some kids just don’t feel comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings, especially if your child struggles with change.
This can be especially true for children with autism spectrum disorder.
In other cases, like those recovering from a stroke or traumatic brain injury, it may be difficult to travel to a speech therapy clinic.
Some people also have lifelong problems that may make it challenging to commute to speech therapy appointments, such as epilepsy.
It can also be difficult if you’re seeking transgender voice therapy – trans men, trans women, and nonbinary people may feel awkward or uncomfortable in a clinical setting, especially early in transition.
If you fall into any of the above categories, a speech pathology teletherapy session can make the experience far easier.
Being in a comfortable surrounding can make it much easier for you to work through your speech and language concerns.
4. It Might Actually Be More Effective
Teletherapy might seem like a new idea, but we’ve been using it for more than 20 years.
And during that time, there have been a number of studies done on whether or not it’s an effective treatment method.
The research shows that overall, it’s just as effective as traditional face to face therapy at treating most issues, and in some cases it might be even more effective.
A 2013 study by Wagner, Horn, and Maercker was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders on teletherapy treatment for depression.
It followed a group of people receiving in person therapy, and a parallel group receiving teletherapy, but the therapy techniques used were the same.
Three months after the sessions, those who received teletherapy remained stable, while those who had in person sessions were significantly worse.
Another study, this one by Mitchel et. al in the journal Behavior Research And Therapy, looked at teletherapy as a tool for the treatment of eating disorders.
The methods were similar to the above study, and after a year, the two groups had very minimal differences in recovery and relapse rates.
So that’s great for psychotherapy related teletherapy, but what about speech language pathology teletherapy?
A paper by Wales, Skinner, and Hayman, published in the Journal of Telerehabilitation, reviewed seven different studies on the use of speech language teletherapy for school age children.
The evidence it found supported the idea that teletherapy is effective, though they did admit more research is needed.
The list of studies goes on, with evidence showing speech language teletherapy to be an option for treating primary progressive aphasia, post stroke anomia, stuttering, and more.
Book An Appointment With District Speech Today
Do you have a speech concern you’re hoping to deal with?
Whatever your concern, whether a stutter, a heavy accent, a learning disability, or any other speech related issue, we can help.
Contact us today to book an online speech therapy appointment, and let’s get you communicating clearer than ever before.
Book your teletherapy appointment with District Speech today.
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005
District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.