Speech telepractice is becoming increasingly popular these days, but through the growth there are many different things people still don’t know about it. Here are the top 10 facts to help you learn more about what it is and how it can help.
1. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the professional association for 135,000 for audiologists and speech-language pathologists, determined telepractice services are an effective way to provide speech therapy, using vast evidence in favor of it.
2. Individuals who provide professional speech language pathology services using telepractice must be certified or licensed.
3. Speech Telepractice is reimbursable in most states. This means insurance will cover the cost and clients will not likely have to pay out-of-pocket for services rendered.
4. Telepractice has been used in speech-language pathology for more than 35 years. In the 1970s, a grant program funded the first documented case of using distance learning to serve clients in otherwise underserved areas. It was first used at the Birmingham V.A. Hospital.
5. The Mayo Clinic started offering speech-language pathology assessments through the telehealth program in 1997, after determining their reliability.
6. A 2002 study conducted by ASHA determined that most speech language pathologists use telepractice in an educational setting. As of this writing, more than 30,000 telespeech therapy sessions have been conducted at schools.
7. Clinicians responsible for telepractice services are required to maintain the same standard of service and care as a speech language pathologist providing services in a face-to-face environment. All clinicians, whether practicing in person or via telepractice are bound by ASHA’s Code of Ethics, which requires them to keep client welfare in mind, provide professional services, and to competently do their jobs.
8. Speech telepractice can be used in any type of setting. It is commonly used in: schools, client homes, childcare facilities, hospitals, outpatient care facilities, and business offices. The ASHA has determined as long as the provided services comply with professional, institutional, state, and federal guidelines, there are no real limitations to where telepractice can be used effectively.
9. Speech telepractice has many benefits. The most widely recognized benefit is services can be provided to clients who live in areas where service is not typical available using conventional therapy methods. Telepractice allows clients to conveniently consult with multiple providers to determine who will suit them best. It also allows for service to be rendered in an environment where the client is most comfortable. Telepractice enables speech-language pathology services to be provided globally.
10. Speech telepractice also has limitations. The service, like any other speech language pathology method, needs to be developed specific to the needs of the client, and there may some cases where telepractice would not be the best solution. For instance, when assessments to determine muscle tone must be conducted, being with the clinician is best. In cases where there are disabilities with vision, hearing, or other cognitive issues that may inhibit communication with a clinician not in the same room, face-to-face therapy is recommended. This is also the case when hands-on learning is best.