Before I got into telepractice, I had questions about the effectiveness of it: “How does it work? Can it really be as effective as face-to-face services?” I was certainly intrigued by the idea but to be honest, before I saw it in person I was skeptical.
After doing some research, witnessing sessions and then conducting my own sessions I came to realize that this delivery service model certainly is effective! In my personal experience, I believe in some instances it can even be more effective–depending on the client of course.
Research indicates teletherapy can benefit multiple groups.
There is research on the effectiveness of teletherapy ranging from educational setting (early intervention to school age) and medical setting.
Education: Research (1) found that reliability of the ReST program delivered via telepractice to be similar to that delivered in a face-to-face model. The authors reported that clinicians and caregivers ( 2) alike were satisfied with the telepractice treatment.
Determining if teletherapy is a fit for your clients.
In my own experience, I’ve seen gains in various types of students who come into the clinic as well as those who only participate in services via telepractice. When it comes to early intervention, teletherapy can be offered by way of caregiver training–offering suggestions on how to interact with a client as opposed to working directly with the client.
There really isn’t a hard line of who should or shouldn’t participate in teletherapy. It’s one of those things that is a case by case situation and requires working with teachers, healthcare providers, and parents–along with your most ethical judgement–to determine if teletherapy is a fit for each client.
A personal success story with a client on the Autism Spectrum.
I have one client in particular who has multiple disorders including autism. He participated in teletherapy sessions for 3 years; and while I can’t compare his sessions and progress to the traditional face-to-face method (because he always participated via teletherapy), his mother believed her son benefited more from telepractice. She felt that interacting through the computer created a layer that allowed him to engage more fully in therapy. He is very passionate about video games and making movies and loves being at the computer, so it would make sense that it is a place where he feels comfortable enough to open up and be receptive to our sessions.
If you’re questioning whether or not certain clients will do well in teletherapy, consider their options, consult with others, and if it seems to be a viable option, try it out a few times! After a few sessions, you’ll know whether or not it’s the right delivery method.
Mckell Smith MS,CCC-SLP
CEO and Founder of theraV