Authors: Fairweather GC, Lincoln MA, Ramsden R
Title: Speech-language pathology teletherapy in rural and remote educational settings: Decreasing service inequities
Source: International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 2016 18(6): 592-602
Year: 2016
Research Design: Case Series

Purpose: The objectives of this study were to investigate the efficacy of a speech-language pathology teletherapy program for children attending schools and early childcare settings in rural New South Wales, Australia, and their parents' views on the program's feasibility and acceptability. Method: Nineteen children received speech-language pathology sessions delivered via Adobe Connect, Facetime© or Skype© web-conferencing software. During semi-structured interviews, parents (n = 5) described factors that promoted or threatened the program's feasibility and acceptability. Result: Participation in a speech-language pathology teletherapy program using low-bandwidth videoconferencing improved the speech and language skills of children in both early childhood settings and primary school. Emergent themes related to (a) practicality and convenience, (b) learning, (c) difficulties and (d) communication. Conclusion: Treatment outcome data and parental reports verified that the teletherapy service delivery was feasible and acceptable. However, it was also evident that regular discussion and communication between the various stakeholders involved in teletherapy programs may promote increased parental engagement and acceptability.

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