Teletherapy is a relatively new method of providing therapy over the phone or computer, rather than making a patient have to come into the offices of the therapist. A lot of therapists have begun to incorporate this type of therapy into their treatment so that patients get more contact with the therapist, and they are not exposed to possible exposure to things like COVID-19. Today, let’s focus specifically on teletherapy speech therapy.
3 benefits of teletherapy speech therapy
Therapists know that many of the scheduled appointments they have will be canceled or will result in “no-shows.” Bad weather and unplanned life events like illness are the most frequent causes of cancellations. The cost of therapy sessions is another big reason that people do not go to their therapy sessions.
By participating in teletherapy practices the therapist can be assured that the number of cancellations they will have will be lowered. Bad weather and many other reasons that stop people from making it to their therapy sessions will not interrupt the session that is held over the phone or computer.
Other benefits of teletherapy include:
- Family members of the patient can be involved in the session and will learn how to help the patient
- Information can easily be shared over computer screens so patients can have written confirmation of the therapist’s instructions or have access to resources their therapist has recommended
1. The proven effectiveness of this type of therapy
Many people worry that with the teletherapy being performed via phone or computer connections the therapist will not be able to see the needs of the patient and the therapy will not be as effective.
The truth is, teletherapy can accelerate the progress of speech therapy. Studies have been conducted and the results prove that online speech therapy is a valid means of speech therapy.
2. Virtual learning is well-suited to the busy lives of patients
Most of us are busy every minute of every day. We travel more than our parents and grandparents did, children have school, extra-curricular activities, and more. Fitting a therapy session into the busy schedules of parents and children can be daunting.
The majority of people have tablets or smartphones with them at all times. That means the access to teletherapy sessions is easy and more patients can fit a therapy session into their day.
3. Children are great with computers
Many kids begin to play games on smartphones and other devices before they begin to attend school. Children become familiar with how to find things online and how to use online services. Teletherapy speech therapy is easy for the child because it utilizes something they are already familiar with.
2 potential disadvantages of teletherapy
Everything has good and bad points. Teletherapy has a lot of advantages for the therapist and the patient, but there are some disadvantages that might make this type of therapy less favorable for some people.
1. Insurance coverage
Not all insurance companies cover the cost of teletherapy sessions. Some of the therapists do not accept insurance payments. This can create problems for the person who relies on their insurance to cover the cost of their teletherapy.
2. Confidentiality issues
Another reason why some people say teletherapy is not a good choice is the issue of confidentiality. To do therapy remotely the therapist is allowing the information concerning the patient to be accessible to computer hackers. That may leave a patient vulnerable to identity theft issues, or other issues.
Is in-person therapy really better?
There are advantages to in-person therapy sessions that cannot be duplicated in a remote session. Trust between therapy and patient is one of the main things that are easier to form when the patient and therapist meet in person.
Another big reason that an eye-to-eye session might be more beneficial is that some people have a difficult time focusing. Being in the therapist’s office allows their focus to be on strictly what the therapist is trying to teach them. That is often true of children, except autistic children often do better with speech therapy when they do not have to leave the comfort or familiarity of their own home environments.
Who benefits the most from online speech therapy?
Recent studies show that people who live in rural areas are less likely to have speech therapy available in close proximity to their homes. The access to therapy for people who live in rural areas is greatly increased by the availability of online therapy services.
Find out why telehealth counseling is here to stay in this related read
What is needed for teletherapy speech therapy?
Participating in teletherapy speech therapy does not require a lot of expensive equipment. The majority of all homes have computers or devices that have internet connect-ability. To participate in the therapy session you must have:
- A device that can connect to the internet
- Reliable internet connections so the therapy session is not interrupted
- A quiet place for the patient to sit so they are not distracted by the things around them
- A chair or seat that allows the patient to have a clear view of the monitor or screen. The therapist will use tools and visual prompts during the session so the patient needs to be able to clearly see the therapist.
- A camera and microphone on the computer or device allow the therapist to see the patient and hear what the patient is saying. Headphones with a microphone attached are often better than the microphones that are built into the computer or device because the microphone in the headphones is closer to the patient’s mouth and sounds are picked up and transmitted more clearly.
Are there any free teletherapy activities?
There are free online games and activities that a therapist will use to help their patients get the most practice and benefits from the online treatment. Your therapist will give you a list of their favorite game and activity sites.
There are several free online activities offered through SpeechBuddy that parents find useful. When the activities are fun and engaging children forget that they are learning something and they simply enjoy the experience.
Teletherapy speech therapy is the latest tool that therapists and educators have to help individuals learn to communicate more clearly. There are several therapist and programs available from several countries.