With the introduction of the NBN (National Broadband Network), Internet over Satellite and the roll-out of the 5G network, online speech therapy for kids is becoming increasingly known among medical professionals, clinicians and families. However, online speech therapy is not a new concept, with research occurring since the 1970s – let’s find out if it’s right for you and your child.
What Is Telepractice?
Telepractice refers to the use of telecommunications technology (e.g., computer networks, the Internet) to provide clinical services from afar. Using telepractice, a speech pathologist can undertake assessments and provide intervention to a child or their parents or caregivers. Speech Clinic can deliver speech pathology services to children living anywhere in Australia or Internationally with Internet Access.
Telepractice can also be referred to as ‘telehealth’, ‘telerehabilitation’, ‘online speech therapy’ or ‘remote speech therapy’. We have experience using telepractice to provide both individual sessions and group sessions.
Shared Book Reading
We all know the importance of shared book reading. Now, with the latest in technology, we can interact with books live on camera. What makes this truly amazing, is that you can see both the book and the therapist at the same time, adding to the engaging experience.
So what does Online Speech Pathology look like? Here’s a screenshot of what you’ll see from your perspective. This runs effectively on a range of devices, including tablets, laptops, PCs and smart phones.
We provide online telehealth speech therapy appointments to local families. Families with busy work/life schedules or who just love the convenience of an online offering.
We provide online speech pathology appointments to those who live right across Australia. Thanks to the NBN and 5G networks, we’re able to offer an outstanding quality of connection from our end.
For Australians or anyone living abroad, we provide telehealth appointments over the internet. Speech Clinic offers a premium routed service, where delays due to distance are non-existent.
Is Online Therapy Right For You?
How do I know if Online Speech Therapy is right for my child?
We will work closely with you to understand your child’s needs and to determine if the required intervention approaches can be used, or if necessary adapted, during telehealth appointments. As we consider the possibility of telehealth, we may need to consider your child’s physical and sensory needs, cognitive function (including attention), the significance of your child’s communication needs, your family’s cultural and linguistic diversity and the availability of a parent or caregiver to attend and help facilitate therapy activities where necessary.
Like all speech pathology intervention, time needs to be taken to determine if telehealth is the best option and fit for your child. Positively, telehealth services can provide great benefit for families that live in remote or rural locations or families that have difficulties accessing therapy due to individual differences. However, telehealth may not be the best service delivery option if your family does not have the technology requirements (as listed below) or based upon your child’s unique needs.
Speech Clinic prioritises providing the highest level of individualised care regardless of whether appointments occur within the home environment or via telehealth services. Even after having successful appointments, we always take time to evaluate and reflect on how we can continue to provide the highest level of care.
9 out of 10 Australians have the right equipment already
Technology required for telehealth appointments
Internet access is also a requirement for telehealth appointments. A certain level of connectivity or speed is important to ensure the quality of service. Telehealth requires a minimum of 600 Kbps (0.6 Mbps) upload speed and 600 kbps (0.6 Mbps) download speed. In our experience, we recommend 1500 Kbps (1.5 Mbps) upload speeds and 1500 Mbps (1.5 Mbps) download speeds or above. To put this into perspective, the average 4G internet speed around Australia is ~40 mbps.
We support both Macs and PCs (macOS, Windows and Linux). All you need is an internal or external web camera, microphone and speakers. Most modern computers have these built-in already.
If you have an iPad or Android tablet, that’s generally all you need. Ensure your tablet has a front-facing camera, microphone and speaker built-in.
Although Smart Phones are not the preferred option, it is possible to conduct Telehealth sessions through these devices. Ensure your device has a front-facing camera, microphone and speaker built-in.
What does the evidence say about
telehealth for children and adolescents
requiring speech pathology intervention?
Increasing amounts of research are currently being undertaken in the area of telepractice paediatric speech pathology field. To date, research has focused upon the role of telehealth to assess and provide treatment for childhood speech sound disorders, language disorders and for stuttering. Excitingly, recent research has also shown positive outcomes for adolescents presenting traumatic brain injuries and for education and consultation services for parents of children with autism. Some intervention approaches offered by Speech Clinic, such as Lidcombe Therapy and the Camperdown Program, have already undertaken specific clinical trials for the application of telehealth. For other clinical areas that have not yet had specific telehealth research trials, telepractice services are based upon the best current face-to-face evidence and are offered with the same level of access and frequency of intervention.
For such areas, we ensure that the highest levels of clinical planning, optimisation and evaluation occurs to ensure that the service is tailored for every individual child. It is critical that all therapy is tailored for each individual child and that time is taken to reflect upon whether a particular therapy approach and delivery option are suitable. Speech Clinic undertakes frequent reviews regardless of whether intervention is provided in the home environment or via telepractice.
Is Online Speech Therapy Secure?
We employ a 256-bit end-to-end encrypted video stream. There are 2256 possible combinations, so you can rest assured that we take your privacy very seriously. This Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit algorithm encrypts all presentation content, in-meeting chats and file transfers. This end-to-end encryption also supports HIPAA based compliance requirements.