Q. What is online speech therapy?

Online Speech Therapy or Telepractice is the use of technology to provide speech therapy via high speed internet, webcam, headset with microphone or any other form of communication.Online therapy is a clinical arrangement where the patient and a speech-language certified pathologist communicate and interact face-to-face over the Internet.The session involves a suite of therapeutic exercises including listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Telepractice is defined by the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA) as the use of technology to provide speech therapy services to remote regions. Janet Brown, the Director of Healthcare services in SLP at ASHA has stated “research shows that with telepractice a speech-language pathologist can provide speech therapy services, with the same results, as being there in person.”

Online Speech Therapy or Telepractice as its formally known has been around for more than 20 years! Though in India its a recent concept, its a popular method in countries like USA, UK, Canada and Australia. Online Speech therapy has the power to reach remote areas and localities where traditional speech therapy services are unavailable. With the advent of high speed internet and laptops/tablets/smart phones, affected children and adults can access professional services from the convenience of their homes.

Online Speech Therapy is simple, convenient and highly effective at the same time. 1SpecialPlace is India’s first Online Speech Therapy portal and we are helping Indian mothers all across the globe. We are even able to reach to that multiple disabled child who is home bound and needs Speech language remediation.

Q.  How is online speech therapy carried out?

We always begin our Online Speech therapy program by doing a baseline evaluation session. After which we lay down a plan for the month. Each therapy session is 45 minutes which includes various activities to achieve the goals. For children with a pure Speech delay we would like to focus on improving the child’s receptive and expressive language skills, listening skills, compliance & attention along with enhancing his overall communication and connection with parents. We use a variety of digital and hands on activities which are all custom made for the child. Home work and counselling the mother are also provided to ensure better follow up and carry over on days when therapy is not held.

1SpecialPlace has also developed a research based mobile app called Speech Doctor which parents can download on their phones to check if their child has a speech delay. We have 2 more apps that are useful for teaching simple early words to children – Early Word Deck 1& 2

Q.  Do children sit for online sessions? Are they engaged, even though when the therapist is not physically  present?

A Speech therapist needs to see and hear a child during speech therapy, and this is completely possible through online speech therapy which is a video based interactive way of service delivery. We at 1SpecialPlace provide Online speech therapy through an interactive software which has inbuilt features to engage children via digital material which is customised for each child’s speech therapy needs and goals. We also employ hands on activities in our online sessions with the help and support of the parent at the other end. Its a very effective , evidence based protocol that we follow in our online sessions with children. Our children look forward to attending their highly interactive online sessions and even parents are able to sit in the session with their kids to learn how to generalise activities at home.

Q.  How can a parent benefit from 1SpecialPlace’s online platform?

Parents will find 1SpecialPlace’s Online Speech Therapy very convenient and effective at the same time. We have a global team with the best of professionals across the world. Since online services can be accessed from home, a parent can save time, cost and hassle of travel to the therapy centre. Speech therapy usually involves regular sessions once or twice a week. In big cities the traffic situation is getting worse and taking kids for continued therapy every now and then is difficult. With 1SpecialPlace you can get the best of professional help sitting at home. Most mothers who are taking our services are very happy that they can access these sessions with no help from their husbands who otherwise drive the kids around to the therapy centres. Our sessions can even be recorded if asked by a parent who can view the recording later to see the child’s progress during the session.

Q.  What online therapies are provided by 1SpecialPlace?

We offer Online Speech Therapy, Online Occupational Therapy, Online Special Education, Online counselling and also Online Social Skills group for children.

Speech Therapy is available for both children, adolescents and adults.

Q.  How are online speech therapy sessions different for adults ?

Our sessions are all tailor made. Right from the tools and tests which are used for assessments, to the techniques and activities carried out during the sessions, everything is suited to the individual. In Online speech therapy session programs for adults, one to one therapy, counselling and even group therapy is done.

Online Speech Therapy can help adults with stammering, loss of language due to stroke, accidents etc ( Aphasia) , Parkinson’s Diseases, Dementia, Voice difficulties etc. We have seen great success for adolescents and adults who opt for online speech therapy services.

Q.  How is an online therapy session beneficial than a conventional therapy?

There are many advantages of Online Speech Therapy over conventional therapy.

  1. Online Speech Therapy saves time and cost of travel
  2. It promises better continued therapy overcoming situations like bad weather, traffic jams, unwell parents etc.
  3. It can be accessed even if you’re traveling to another city
  4. It can be accessed from home/office/school
  5. You can sit with your child to monitor his progress in the online sessions. Many a times in conventional Speech therapy centres parents are not ‘allowed’ inside the sessions andonline therapy breaks those norms.
  6. Research shows that with online sessions even mothers learn a lot and are able to use thetips and ideas in day to day communication with the child. Hence carry over of therapy is significantly better.
  7. Since the child is in his/her functional environment, online speech therapy is done in a natural way and the rapport between the child and the therapist is great.
  8. Online sessions can be recorded and viewed by a parent later.
  9. At 1SpecialPlace we even have group online sessions with multiple professionals where achild gets to improve social skills in a structured environment.
  10. Online Speech Therapy is preferred even by adults seeking help as they find it flexible and effective at the same time.

Q.  Does Online therapy increase a child’s screen time?

Screen time usually implies watching a screen ( TV, Mobile phone, Tablet, iPad etc). Although Online Speech therapy involves video conferencing over a computer screen/tablet it doesn’t stop at one way watching of videos. Online speech therapy sessions are highly interactive, 2 way guided sessions which are structured to improve the communication abilities of children. In our online sessions, we do structured activities, talk to children and aim to enhance and enrich their receptive and expressive language skills. We also employ hands on activities in which children are physically involved in simple activities.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (which has set guidelines and recommendations for screen time usage in children) considers video chatting ok for children.

Research suggests that children perform very well in online sessions because of the great audio visual interface and interactive nature of the online programs.

Q. Are standardized tests used in online assessments ?

The assessments are done via our video conferencing software using both informal and formal methods. The child is observed during the session for various skills involved in speech-language, communication, cognition, social and oral motor domains. The common tests that are used are –

  • REELS ( Receptive Expressive Emergent Language Scale),
  • 3D LAT ( 3 D Language Acquisition Test) ,
  • SECS ( Scales of Early Communication Skills)
  • M-CHAT ( Modified Checklist for Autistic Toddlers),
  • FEDS (Feeding Eating Drinking and Swallowing Competencies)
  • Photo Articulation Test
  • CAP Test ( Central Auditory Processing test)
  • WAB ( Western Aphasia Battery)
  • FDA ( Frenchay Dysarthria Assessment)
  • SSI ( Stuttering Severity Instrument).
The choice of tests depends on the need of the child and discretion of the therapist. A sample assessment report can be made available if you chose to take a trial session with us
Q. Are the online sessions recorded and is the recording available ?
Small recordings are made for premium sessions. Those can be shared on request. If your reason to ask for a video recording is charting your child’s language progress, there are other tools as well that we use to ensure that our therapy plan is in the right direction. These include –
  • Making monthly goals/IEP ( Individual Education Plan) which is shared with the parent
  • Ongoing reviews and discussions with parents.
  • Session summaries/outlines shared after every session to monitor carry over activities at home
  • Formal Review done after every month ( or min 10 sessions which ever is sooner)
  • Charting of ongoing speech progress in an analytical format which is reviewed by our Director