Teletherapy Beyond the Pandemic

When teletherapy gained popularity during the pandemic, the reasoning for incorporating this service delivery model was primarily to maintain continuity of care while encouraging safe distancing, further preventing the spread of illness. 

Many looked forward to the return of normalcy, including resuming in-person services. While in-person services have resumed, teletherapy services have also continued. Considering social distancing is no longer a requirement, why would the option of teletherapy remain? 

Teletherapy improves treatment accessibility 

Continuing teletherapy services benefits individuals who live in rural towns as well as students who may struggle to access services. It allows underserved populations to receive evaluations and treatment without the difficulty of distance. Students who have medical conditions that impact their health and ability to safely attend school can continue to receive treatment without exposure that may further compromise their health. Additionally, students who receive home health or ISP services may have increased ease of access to services and can attend their sessions from their private school/homeschool location. 

Teletherapy has proven to be effective

Research suggests that teletherapy is a successful method of service delivery. While some students may not be appropriate for this service delivery model, the overall effectiveness of telepractice as a service delivery model in the schools is well documented. According to a 2021 report from the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA), 80% of clients who completed all speech therapy visits over teletherapy showed progress.

Teletherapy positively impacts scheduling efficiency and flexibility
Virtual therapists can maximize their time and overall productivity. Therapists have the ability to service students all across their county without the hassle and time restraint of commuting between schools. Utilizing teletherapy services greatly diminishes the finances regarding commuting costs and travel time impact that many therapists face when assigned to several sites. 

Teletherapy addresses clinician shortages
Many school districts across the country continue to struggle with clinician shortages, therefore resulting in higher caseloads and workloads. Teletherapy helps fill these positions. 

In summary, implementing teletherapy helps us address many challenges we face in our field. Technology is advancing, and teletherapy service delivery has greatly changed and improved since the pandemic. Utilizing telepractice helps to address shortages of clinicians in school districts, increases flexibility to meet workload demands by reducing travel to multiple schools, and increases clients' accessibility to providers. Both private and public settings and their clientele may greatly benefit from continuing to access this service delivery model. 


Author: Christina Neuweiler, M.S., CCC-SLP, CDP

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. The content is based on the author's personal experiences, research, and opinions. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified professional or expert before making any decisions or taking action based on the information provided in this blog.

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