Telehealth – is it all it’s cracked up to be?

In the current times, we are all doing our best to help keep others safe and stay home as much as possible. So many services have moved online to help families to be able to do this. It’s crazy – from drum lessons to ballet, you can now do it online! The same has happened for speech therapy, so I bet you are wondering if this is actually worthwhile?

Did you know that telehealth (online therapy) is actually not a new concept created for COVID-19? It started around 20 years ago and has been researched and shown to be an effective method for speech therapy, including for early intervention. It was originally used to increase access to services for people e.g. in remote and rural communities.

This is great news, because as speech pathologists, we always ensure that what we do is evidence based – it has research to back it up! Here is a summary of some findings from recent research studies:

– A 2019 study identified a range of benefits to teletherapy including flexibility and increased family engagement and empowerment leading to applying what they learnt into daily routines. This led to positive outcomes for children.

– A recent review of the literature looking into how effective telehealth is for intervention for young people with autism showed that services delivered via telehealth were equivalent to those that were face-to-face.

– Studies that have been conducted to measure how effective teletherapy is compared to in home therapy for children with hearing difficulties showed that both methods were equally effective for child outcomes and teletherapy resulted in great parent engagement in therapy sessions.

You can rest easy, knowing that telehealth is not lesser therapy and despite being different, it can be just as effective as face-to-face therapy. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call or email.

Olivia Green
Speech Pathologist

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