5 minute read
December 5, 2018

What is Teletherapy?

Teletherapy is delivering online professional services by linking a provider to a client through telecommunication technology, often from a distance. Modern-day technology can now connect clinicians with clients no matter the distance or situation.

Telespeech - teletherapy - telehealth - telepractice - telerehabilitation...as with many labels, it’s interchangeable in this regard.

We live in a world with constantly evolving technology and new and fancy inventions that keep our brains buzzing trying to keep up. Our basic communication skills are evolving at a rate that is lightning fast (see: Twitter, Facebook, Email). Why shouldn’t therapy services be evolving with the technology, as well?

If you thought home-based therapy had benefits or was convenient, hear us out on teletherapy.

How does teletherapy work?

Through a secure platform, clinicians link to clients via an internet connection, web portal, and two-way live video. Through the platform, the client can interact with the clinician just as he/she would if it was an in-person session. There can be hands-on activities, activities involving the platform, and even interactive games between the two. Often, an aid, parent, or other adult is on the end with the client providing cueing and any “hands-on” techniques that might be needed by the instruction of the clinician.

Have you used any type of video calling on your cell phone? Then you know how the foundation of live video works in teletherapy! Teletherapy sessions are identical to face-to-face sessions, except instead of in person, you’re on a two-way video call.

Does it have the same impact as traditional face-to-face therapy?

Luckily, there has been a lot of research on telepractice as it continues to grow as a service delivery model. Research has found very few differences between telepractice and traditional in-person therapy!

Also, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has recognized teletherapy as an effective method of service delivery since 2005. You can find their statement regarding the matter here.

What do I need for teletherapy?

If you have a computer, a microphone, and a camera (which most computers/laptops have automatically now), you’re set! You’ll also need a strong internet connection. As long as you have those items, you can engage in teletherapy sessions.

What are the key benefits of teletherapy?

  • Convenience! You don’t have to leave your home, you don’t have to feel like you need to clean up for a clinician to visit your home, and you don’t even have to put on shoes if you that’s not your thing.
  • Kids love technology. Yes, there are opposite opinions regarding technology with children as a whole, but sometimes it needs to be embraced. Today’s children just don’t know a time without screens - and that’s OK. Most children love online video interaction and are highly motivated by it. Also, children can feel more comfortable in this setting than with an unfamiliar person. While a lot of adults might not understand the constant connection, kids do.
  • Access to providers you typically wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Those in rural areas can access therapy in their kitchen instead of having to drive an hour to a rural clinic. If you need a specialized treatment approach that few are qualified in, teletherapy can connect you with that special clinician. The options provided to clients has grown tremendously with the introduction of teletherapy.

Is it a secure network?

Yes. The platform Tobogo Therapies uses is a secure platform that is compliant with HIPPA regulations.

Is it really for everyone?

With any type of treatment, there isn’t a blanket statement that can be made with a “100% guarantee that this will work!” Just like some children respond better to whole groups than small groups, or some children can wear long sleeves and others can’t - some children will benefit greatly from this method and others will benefit more from a traditional face-to-face, 1:1 setting.

What are some other perks of teletherapy?

Less cancelled sessions due to sickness. Is Bobby’s brother sick and you don’t want to pack up the kids to take Suzie to therapy? With teletherapy, you don’t have to.

There are no transportation concerns. Since you get to do therapy in your home, you don’t have to worry about the car-sharing schedule to get to a clinic on time.

Children’s attention may be greater with teletherapy. Children are drawn to technology. The interactive platform and interactive games on the computer with the SLP are motivating and keep a lot of students engaged for longer amounts of time.

You’re visiting family a few towns away, but don’t want your child to miss their session? As long as they’re in IL, they don’t have to!

If I don’t like teletherapy, can I switch to in-home session?

Absolutely! If teletherapy ends up not being a good fit or if you decide for another reason, contact your therapist or Tobogo directly to initiate the conversation of changing service delivery models.

|| RELATED: Benefits of Home Based Speech Therapy ||

Does Tobogo offer teletherapy sessions?

We do! Currently, we are accepting clients for teletherapy that are in 5th grade or older. If your child is younger and you wish to pursue teletherapy, please contact us for a consultation to see if it is a good fit for your child. If you are interested in setting up a teletherapy session for your child, please contact us! We would love to get started with you!

Karlene Tarran MS, CCC-SLP