fleX - Online Speech Language Therapy
Tele Consultation/ Online Speech Practice is the application of telecommunications technology for the delivery of Speech Language Pathology professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client or clinician to clinician for assessment, intervention and /or consultation.
One of its greatest benefits is accessibility as families can avail services of a high quality clinician without barriers of distance. The efficiency is immediate as 45 min is limited to 45 min without factoring any additional delays like traffic, parking, weather etc. An additional benefit is matching the clinical expertise of the therapist with the specialized needs of the client. E.g. a child needing Social thinking expertise in Delhi can avail it at Magpie, Bangalore. Also the digital nature of this therapeutic process is particularly appealing for clients of all ages.
Each client needs to be evaluated individually and some clients respond best to a hybrid model traditional in person and Online is effective in treating various expressive language disorders including Autism, Down’s syndrome, Hearing loss and Stuttering. An initial screening is important to decide candidacy for online therapy. When working with the pediatric population , presence of an adult/ caregiver during the screening, assessment and intervention is mandatory. The adult is important for providing a quiet appropriate location, aid with setup and connectivity but more importantly in the coaching and implementation of the activities and goals with the support of the clinician.
A good online therapy clinician needs to be flexible in their offering as they can provide 15 min for kids learning to establish this schedule to around 60 min sessions for a cooperative and motivated child. They anticipate issues and keep the client and his family actively engaged and informed. Setting goals and establishing regular communication to discuss progress and objectives is essential. A combination of secure email exchange, phone conversations and supervised sessions complement the success of online therapy.
Clinical Skills or qualifications of the SLP are also paramount as the efficacy of the online service will rely on the planning and execution of the SLP. A pediatric SLP needs to have had experience in carrying out in person intervention for children and young adults. Also if she is planning oral-motor therapy goals then she needs to have the necessary qualifications. Record Keeping of the session is of utmost importance and it should include documentation after each session which includes subjective measures indicating client progress and objective measures such as data collection.
Matching the client to the clinician who has the expertise and personality to best meet the clients needs and wants is imperative. A seasoned mentor/ supervisor is also a vital step in promoting the clinicians success. Online reviews and testimonials can help build trust in the services.
Consistency of sessions is important to maximize benefits of service, at the same time not promote unnecessary sessions but rather objective/ S.M.A.R.T. goal based sessions.