Is Online Speech Therapy New to the World?
Is Online Speech Therapy New to the World?
Is Online Speech Therapy New to the World, The world today is facing the biggest health risk which has led to the reorganisation of most industries at a global level. The widespread of COVID -19 has precipitated closures of multiple industries and Speech Language Services have been no exception.
With the pandemic on the rise, Telepractice or Teletherapy, also commonly called as Online Speech Therapy has become an obvious choice for therapy providers and consumers. But it’s interesting to note that Telepractice is NOT A NEW NORMAL across many parts of the world.
Telepractcie is a 40 year old science and has become increasingly popular and acceptable over the years.
Birth of Telepractice
Dr. Gwenyth Vaughn is the pioneer of Telepractice. She did a lot of research with USA veterans with neurogenic disorders from 1975-1983 and coined the term ‘Tel-communicology’. She tested these patients remotely using a telephone. This gained momentum among other researchers and slowly Telehealth started gaining acceptance in the US.
The birth of internet in the 1990s added fuel to fire and Telepractice methods were fine tuned by many institutes and researchers. By 2000s ASHA, the Amercian Speech & Hearing Association had formulated blue prints for Telepractice and even came up with a formal definition in 2005 :
Telepractice is the application of telecommunications technology to the delivery of speech language pathology and audiology professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client or clinician to clinician for assessment, intervention, and/or consultation.
The term telerehabilitation refers to services provided by audiologists and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) (American Telemedicine Association, 2010).
Most countries accept Telepractice as a clever method to deliver Speech Pathology and Audiology services to clients at a distance.
Get Started in Online Speech Therapy
Starting an online therapy practice is in some ways similar to starting a conventional offline practice with a few key differences. Below are the steps, we at 1SpecialPlace, followed over the last 2 years in order to establish a successful online practice :
1. Get Trained :
While any qualified speech therapist can practice online, acquiring certain techniques and methods for practicing online can significantly enhance therapy outcomes. When we started online speech therapy, there was no formal training available for becoming an online speech therapist in India. Trainings provided by therapists in USA are great but can be expensive and not always suited for Indian clientele. As a result we created our inhouse teletherapy training programme at 1SpecialPlace. You can get more details about the program here.
2. Find an online therapy platform :
Despite numerous advances in technology, conducting online therapy can be quite a hassle. This is due to the lack of availability of an integrated software that can smoothly handle all aspects of communication between clients and therapists. This is key in online therapy because there is so face to face interaction.
Telepractice in India
Teletherapy for communication disorders was started in organisations like All India Institute of Speech & Hearing in the government space and by 1SpecialPlace in the private sector. With the onset of the information age, consumers are also willing to try new solutions if it solves their problem effectively in a convenient and affordable way. More specifically, there has been a tremendous increase in demand of telemedicine for healthcare service globally.
These leading organisations have continued to grow massively with time and have fine tuned their treatment of communication disorders using online methods. Therapists in India are not only using telemedicine to reach rural areas where such services are not available but also to reach Indians living abroad!
Telemedicine is an umbrella term and also includes Telepractice, which is online speech, language therapy for people with speech and language difficulties.
Telepractice has advanced from a curious way of clinical communication to a mainstay in clinical Speech Therapy services!
If we look at a scenario post COVID-19, we can easily predict that telepractice is here to stay. It’s not only going to be a side feature of a healthcare system but a mandatory requirement for all institutions offering speech language services.
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