Online speech therapy and speech therapy telehealth practices have been growing in popularity for a few years now. With 2020’s COVID-19 outbreak, the online speech therapy world has suddenly grown at an exponential rate. Is online speech therapy right for you?
How Does Online Speech Therapy Work?
Telehealth is not a new option, but its prevalence has certainly gained traction since the COVID-19 pandemic began. As more people are turning to virtual meetings, the online speech therapy world has seen an increased demand for virtual speech services.
Instead of having an in-person office visit, you meet your speech therapist via your internet connection. Many speech therapists use teleconferencing tools like Zoom or Doxy Me to meet you via a secure connection.
What Technology Do You Need for Virtual Speech Therapy?
Most importantly, you need a device that can handle video calls. A tablet or a computer works the best. If you can FaceTime or Zoom with your friends on your device with few problems, you’re probably good to go with online speech therapy.
You’ll also need an internet connection (bandwidth), that is fast enough to handle real-time video. In general, your internet speed should be at least 15 mbps download and 5 mbps upload. You can test your internet speed for free by going to a speed-checker like fast.com
How Do You Find an Online Speech Therapist?
We have a comprehensive database right here at Speech Therapy Connect! Simply click to search for online speech therapy, and you’ll find several qualified Speech Language Pathologists offering online services. You can customize your search by location and specialty or particular speech disorder to be treated.
You can also search via professional organizations such as the National Aphasia Association or the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
Does Online Speech Therapy Really Work?
Yes! For most people, online speech therapy is just as effective as face-to-face speech therapy. There are pros and cons to anything, but online speech therapy is a fantastic option for many people.
Advantages to Virtual Speech Therapy
No Geographical Limits
Access is the #1 benefit to online speech therapy. If you are practicing self-quarantine or social distancing during the pandemic, online therapy may be the only way you are able to get continuous services. Pandemic aside, online therapy is a great option for people in rural areas with few or no service providers. Online speech therapy options have opened up access for many under-served communities and for people who can’t easily drive to weekly appointments.
Fewer Scheduling Headaches
Online speech therapy is a fantastic way to receive services without the headaches of scheduling, cancellations, weather delays, and other inconveniences. There is no drive time to account for, so your scheduling options are more open.
Feeling a little under the weather? There’s no need to cancel an appointment. Germs don’t spread through computer screens! Weather report looking a bit iffy? No problem. You can bundle up and log in to continue your therapy, uninterrupted.
Access to Specialists
You have greater access to specialists – if your clinic of choice was previously inaccessible due to distance, online services close that gap for you. You can also be more selective as you choose a provider. Speech therapy telepractice puts the best specialists well within your reach.
Disadvantages to Virtual Speech Therapy
As with other virtual meeting options, online speech therapy can be different from face-to-face visits.
Body language is a bit different when you meet online vs. in-person for speech therapy. SLPs can see your face and shoulders on the computer screen, so facial expressions, gestures, and other non-verbal cues are still useful communication tools. Obviously, there’s no way to use touch cues, so if that is an important part of your treatment plan, you’ll need to consider that. There are many accommodations that work well via online speech sessions, including the use of pictures and screenshares so the patient can read, write, and draw along with their therapist.
Internet connections and computers fail sometimes, often for no predictable reason. Be aware that telehealth sessions could be interrupted by these tech problems. But is it really all that different than being late to your in-office appointment due to traffic?
How to Choose an Online Speech Therapist
Before you choose an online speech therapist, there are several questions you should ask:
What teleconference platform do you use, and how do I know it’s secure?
What is your cancellation/missed appointment policy?
What happens if our session is disrupted by technical difficulties?
How do you accept payment securely?
What does a typical speech therapy session look like?
What types of support will you give us for at-home practice?
What are your credentials? Use this tool to verify certification.
Are You Ready to Try Online Speech Therapy?
Find the right online speech therapy practice for you today.