Telepractice and the ASHA Experience

In mid-November, I attended the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) convention in San Diego, California.  I attended sessions on current research, therapy strategies, and service delivery models.  I was thoroughly impressed with my profession and all the fascinating and inspiring things that speech-language pathologists are doing in public schools, hospitals, universities, and clinics.  It was my first ASHA convention and it has taken me awhile to unpack and synthesize much of the information I took in while I was there.  It was a tremendous opportunity to connect with other therapists and to learn about cutting edge therapy, based on research and best practice.  It was clear from the onset that what we are doing at ICAN Center for Autism is in line with the rest of our profession and that we are also pushing the envelope.  I left with the hope that next year therapists from LCA would be presenting about our collaboration between therapy disciplines and possibly, our work using Kinect to help children learn new skills and interact with peers.

As ICAN Center for Autism begins a new Home and School Visit program, it was exciting and informative to participate in a session about telepractice.

Telepractice is defined by ASHA as “...the application of telecommunications technology to deliver professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client, or clinician to clinician for assessment, intervention, and/or consultation” (ASHA, 2004a).

In the session, the presenter, Deborah Theodoros, noted that clinical settings might not be the “gold standard” for therapy.  Research has shown that naturalistic settings, such as a client's home, support generalization and skill maintenance because of the salient effect of learning and trying a new skill in a familiar and relevant environment.

As a huge proponent of parent education and training, I can see that telepractice could be a great tool for connecting with parents during times in the day when the parents and caregivers are available, but the child is not.  Telepractice can also help link families to therapists who are far away and have expertise that would be especially helpful to their child.

I look forward to continuing to follow the advances of telepractice and to further LCA's commitment to home and school visits.