We’ve all tried a lot of new things in the last few months – working from home, school at home, making sourdough to name just a few.

Telehealth is another new experience and one, unlike school at home, that we’re sure will be an enjoyable one! So, what’s it like? Does it work for speech and language therapy? And how do you get ready for a telehealth appointment with Active Speech Pathology?

What is Telehealth? 

Telehealth is a way of providing healthcare over the phone or through video conferencing software like Zoom.

Telehealth has enabled people to continue receiving medical care and therapy while practising social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It means you can connect with your doctor or therapist while staying at home.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made telehealth much more widely available in Australia. It’s not brand new though. Particularly in rural and remote areas, telehealth has been used for many years. Indeed, the first reported case of telehealth in Australia dates back to 1874 when a doctor in Adelaide used the newly constructed telegraph line to provide medical advice to treat an injured man in the Northern Territory.

Benefits of Telehealth

For clients, the benefits of telehealth include:

  • No travel time

  • No parking hassles

  • No need to drag other kids along or arrange childcare

  • No exposure to other people who may be sick (the reason telehealth has expanded during COVID-19)

  • Access to specialists who might be too far away to see in person

  • It’s quicker because you just need to set aside time for the appointment, not the whole trip

  • No need to negotiate time off work.

Telehealth and Speech Therapy

There’s a growing body of research into telehealth for speech and language therapy.

One study found that primary school aged children with speech and language difficulties receiving therapy through telehealth made progress at a similar rate to those receiving face-to-face therapy. Other studies showed that telehealth resulted in more active engagement among families of young children with autism.

The Coaching Model of Telehealth

The big difference with telehealth is – obviously! – that your therapist is not there in person providing therapy directly. You are there with your child though, and that means telehealth is actually a wonderful opportunity to train you in the right therapy methods to help your child.

You’re not just with them in a 45-minute appointment like we are; you’re there every day. So if we can coach you to deliver effective speech and language therapy, you can put it into practice over breakfast or on the way to school or at any other time of the day. You might find that you’re making much quicker progress than you ever expected.

How to Get Ready for Your Telehealth Appointment with Active Speech Pathology

At Active Speech Pathology, we’re using Zoom. Here’s how to get ready for your appointment.

  1. Equipment: You’ll need a reliable internet connection and a computer or tablet that includes a camera and microphone so that we can see and hear each other. Make sure it is fully charged! It’s also handy to have a notepad and pen nearby so you can write down any key information that you want to remember.

  2. Place: Choose somewhere comfortable and quiet where you won’t be distracted. If you have other kids, it’s often helpful to give them something to occupy them during their sibling’s appointment so that you can concentrate (though we fully understand that interruptions are bound to happen!).

  3. Time: Please be ready a few minutes before your appointment time.

  4. Zoom: We will have already sent you an email confirming your appointment and giving you the Zoom meeting ID and password for your session. When it’s time for your appointment, click on the Zoom link in your email then enter the password when prompted. You should see a message saying that you’re in an online waiting room and we’ll let you into the meeting soon.

  5. Therapy: The session will feel very similar to coming into the clinic. You’ll see the same familiar therapist and be working towards your agreed goals. As always at Active Speech Pathology, we make sure the session is fun, with lots of games to keep your child engaged (sometimes this is actually easier on a screen than in the clinic).

  6. Notes and homework: As usual, your therapist will email you any notes from the session and any homework or exercises to work on.

Next Steps

We’re excited to be offering telehealth sessions to clients now and into the future. If you’d like to book an online session, call us on 3103 0776.