Could Online Speech Therapy Be Just As Effective As In-Person Visits?

Many areas of medicine are continuing to improve with the advent of telemedicine practices. A growing number of people are able to consult with specialists remotely, have their medical conditions (both chronic and acute) diagnosed and treated, and have better overall health care because of these advances. As technology affects and transforms the health care industry, it’s likely we’ll continue to see additional telemedicine services being offered for a variety of medical issues. In recent years, teletherapy has been used to help treat individuals who need speech therapy. Here’s a look at how these online options can be just as useful as in-person visits.

Speech therapy is the evaluation and treatment of people who are having issues with speech, language, cognitive function, or problems that affect their learning, memory, or problem-solving skills. There are also swallowing disorders that can be treated with speech therapy. Adults can develop speech issues after a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or concussion, or because of neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease, ALS, or multiple sclerosis. Although adults can be in need of treatment, it’s more likely that people hear about speech therapy for children.

There are several speech disorders children experience that can benefit from speech therapy, including articulation disorders (difficulties producing sounds or saying words incorrectly), fluency disorders (stuttering, partial-word repetitions, or prolonged sounds), and resonance or voice disorders (problems with pitch, volume, or quality of voice that can cause pain or discomfort for the child). There are also specific language disorders, such as receptive disorders (difficulty understanding or processing language), expressive disorders (difficulty putting words together or limited vocabulary), and cognitive-communication disorders (difficulty with communication skills like memory, perception, and regulation) that can occur in childhood. Children can also need speech therapy because of hearing impairments, developmental delays, weak oral muscles, birth defects, autism, and respiratory problems.

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With online speech therapy options now more widely available, children and families all over the U.S. are seeing the benefits.

A speech therapist, or speech-language pathologist (SLP), is educated in the study of human communication, its development, and its disorders. They typically hold a master’s degree and state certification or license, along with a certificate of clinical competency from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). They use different strategies to help eliminate or alleviate a person’s symptoms. With children, these methods can include language intervention activities, which have the therapist interact with the child by playing and talking and using repetition exercises to build language skills. There is also articulation therapy, where the therapist models correct sounds for the child during specific play activities. Oral-motor/feeding and swallowing therapy can also be beneficial for some patients. Therapists can build on each step of progress the child makes and create new goals as they continue on with the speech therapy sessions.

The use of online speech therapy has continued to grow for a number of reasons. First, it can be challenging for some families to find qualified speech therapists near them – especially if they live in a rural area. Access to high-quality therapy can be essential for patients who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access help. Second, using these teletherapy methods means that it can sometimes be more affordable for the patient. Some school districts in the U.S. offer speech therapy to their students, but many districts don’t have the resources to provide complete, comprehensive care. However, they might have more funds to provide online speech therapy, since this can be a cheaper option. Additionally, if parents can’t afford in-person therapy sessions, they might find that online therapy can be more affordable.

There are other benefits to using telemedicine measures for speech therapy. Using online video conferences can mean that families have much more convenient options for treatment. Sessions can be scheduled when it’s most convenient for the parents and child. For busy working parents, families who use online therapy services also don’t have to worry about finding transportation for their children for in-person visits. Therefore, scheduling and completing sessions can be a less stressful experience for the whole family.

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There are numerous benefits to using telemedicine for speech therapy, especially for children.

There also can be something of a stigma attached to therapy. For some kids, going to a speech therapist for help with a stutter or speech impediment can make them feel different to or singled out from other kids in their class. They can miss important classwork and time spent in the classroom, which can make them feel separate from their friends or cause them to fall behind in their schoolwork. Online speech therapy can mean that the child can get the same help outside of school hours without setting themselves apart from their classmates or taking them away from valuable class time. This can end up boosting their confidence and overall self-esteem.

Online speech therapy can also be more therapeutically beneficial. Oftentimes, students who meet with a school therapist do so infrequently. Much of the progress gained during a session can be lost from week to week (or during longer periods of time). Teletherapy video conferences mean a student can have more consistent treatment and possibly more frequent sessions to enhance the treatment and boost odds of improvement. Telemedicine can actually be a more advantageous option than traditional in-person methods if more persistent treatment is available to the patient.

Not only can online speech therapy be just as effective as in-person visits, it can also actually have even further benefits. Treatment can be more affordable, more convenient, and more progressive, resulting in children (and adults) facing a greater chance of seeing their symptoms improve or disappear altogether. With these noticeable advantages, it’s no wonder telemedicine measures are continuing to grow across the country.

7 Benefits of Telemedicine for New Parents

Being a new parent is very exciting, but it can also be stressful and hard work. Time and money become extra-valuable and scarce resources when there is a new baby to take care of. Telemedicine holds a vast amount of potential for new parents. The time-saving, money-saving and increased choice that telemedicine provides can come in extremely handy for people who are taking care of a new baby.

Here are seven benefits of telemedicine for new parents.


Telemedicine Allows Babies to Avoid Doctor’s Surgeries and Hospitals

Babies and toddlers are particularly vulnerable to picking up germs and viruses. Doctor’s surgery waiting rooms and hospital ERs are often hotbeds of germs and viruses. This can be especially problematic for babies, whose immune systems are still a little weaker and less robust. Keeping babies in relatively germ- and virus-free environments will make sure that they get sick as infrequently as possible. By using telemedicine, new parents can keep their babies out of doctor’s surgeries and ERs and away from the viruses and germs that linger there. This is a big benefit of telemedicine for new parents.

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Keeping your new baby healthy and safe is your first priority as a new parent, and telemedicine can help you do that.

Telemedicine Provides Education For New Parents

Being a new parent throws up lots of new and unexpected challenges. It is crucial for a new parent to acquire the knowledge necessary to protect and nurture their child optimally during the baby’s formative early years. Conveniently, many telemedicine apps are full of interesting and important information for new parents. Apps such as Text4Baby provide pregnant women and new parents with a wealth of invaluable knowledge and information about being pregnant and becoming a new parent. Telemedicine apps have opened a whole world of learning and knowledge to new parents. This increased knowledge can hugely improve the lives of new parents and their children.

Telemedicine Saves New Parents Time

For new parents, time can be an extremely scarce resource. Things that were taken for granted in the past, such as a full night’s sleep and the chance to sit down and watch a TV show, become vanishingly rare treats! When taking care of a new baby, it can seem like every minute of the day is taken up by baby-related activities. This is often very exhausting for new parents, and anything that can save time is hugely helpful. Telemedicine saves massive amounts of time by doing away with the need to make time-consuming trips to the doctor’s surgery, hospital, or pharmacy. The time-saving that telemedicine provides is one of its greatest benefits for new parents.

Telemedicine Saves New Parents Money

Financial commitments are often huge for new parents. For many people, these financial commitments can put a major strain on their bank balance. Intelligent budgeting is very important for most new parents. Telemedicine provides big opportunities for new parents to save money by allowing them to choose the most economical and best-value medical professionals. Telemedicine also saves on gas and transport costs, because many consultations can be done online.

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Most new parents are strapped for both cash and time, so the money-saving and time-saving benefits of telemedicine are extremely helpful.


Telemedicine Provides New Parents With More Choice

New parents are eager to get their babies and toddlers the best possible medical care that they can find. Whereas for most of human history, parents were very limited in which medical professionals they could get to treat their children, today they can choose from a much wider pool of doctors and specialists thanks to telemedicine. Telemedicine makes geography much less of a relevant factor, because new parents can consult with medical professionals who are based far from where they live. This increased choice offers huge benefits to new parents.

Telemedicine Improves New Parents’ Ability to Live in Remote Locations

Many new parents would prefer to bring their children up in remote and idyllic rural locations, far away from the negative influences and dangers of the big city. Growing up in the wilderness and playing freely in nature can be a beautiful, life-enhancing experience for children. Telemedicine makes it possible for new parents to bring up their children in remote locations because it is much easier to provide necessary medical treatment remotely, if and when it is required, using telemedicine apps and smart mobile technology.

Telemedicine Ensures The Best Medical Professionals Rise to the Top

The increased choice that telemedicine provides to new parents tends to make the market more competitive. This means that medical professionals who treat children are operating in a more demanding market. In this more competitive market, the cream tends to rise to the top. This is great news for new parents, because it means they can get their children treated by the best medical professionals in the business. Telemedicine increases competition amongst doctors and ensures that the most talented are easy to identify, which is extremely beneficial for new parents.

Could Telemedicine Change How We Treat Autism?

Experts estimate that a growing number of children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) every year. A recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) study gave the number as 1 in 68 (or 14.6 per 1,000) school-age children with an ASD diagnosis. Although researchers’ opinions differ on whether this is due to an increase in cases or just better diagnosing tools, the fact remains that there are many children who need consistent treatment for their autism symptoms. Some autism specialists are turning to telemedicine options to help improve their treatment regimens, leading many to wonder if telemedicine could become the new frontier in treating autism.

ASD is a serious developmental disorder that affects an individual’s ability to communicate and interact appropriately with others. Some symptoms include an impact on the nervous system, obsessive interests, and repetitive behaviors. Because the disorder exists on a spectrum, the range and severity of symptoms can vary widely depending on the individual. Some treatments, like behavioral and educational therapies, are used to help reduce symptoms and encourage development and learning. Because specific therapies are recommended for treatment, families are faced with finding appropriate therapists or specialists to take their children to. This can be a daunting task if the family lives in a rural area or does not have access to these types of programs.

This is where telemedicine comes in. Telemedicine is the use of technology (particularly video chats with physicians or specialists) to help with the treatment of physical or mental illnesses. They can include video or email communications with a treatment team, online monitoring of symptoms, medication check-ins, and many more options. Telemedicine can be incredibly helpful for individuals who don’t have immediate access to the best and highest-quality health care. It can also help families save money, because these options cost less than traditional doctor’s office visits. These savings can be found because individuals don’t have to pay for transportation or for doctor’s office fees that are often accrued each time they visit a physician or specialist. Using telemedicine options also means that families don’t have to dedicate as much time to driving to appointments – they can be scheduled at more convenient times for the caregivers. This, in turn, can create less stress on the family, because the treatment is more tailor-made to the family and the child’s needs.

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With advances in telemedicine, treatments and programs for children with autism are improving.

Specialists who treat children with autism are relying more and more on telemedicine to help better reach and treat their patients. Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) in Nashville, Tennessee is currently using telemedicine in their treatment regimens. They mail an iPad on a tripod that can be controlled remotely to families they’re treating. The specialists then conduct hour-long behavioral therapy appointments remotely from their office using the iPads as cameras.

The telemedicine program is being funded by a $3.25 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE). The motivation was that TRIAD could expand rapid remote diagnostic evaluations, so that families in rural or ‘low-resource’ areas would have more access to services. Researchers have found that this form of telemedicine has been effective, partly because younger patients are able to be treated right in their own homes, where they feel the most comfortable. Additionally, they’ve found that costs have been cut because of reductions in travel expenses as well.

Another study funded by the National Institutes of Health is being conducted by researchers at Purdue University to determine if telemedicine can be used to diagnose autism in infants. The five-year study will give selected parents of high-risk babies (with fragile X or neurogenic syndromes) a telehealth kit, which includes a tablet, heart monitor, LENA vocal recorder and vest, tools to collect saliva, and toys. The families taking part in the project will be educated on how to use all of the items. They’ll also be instructed on how to use eye movement exercises and heart activity monitoring to help track their child’s attention and play behaviors, as well as social communication and motor skills.

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Telemedicine can also help as a diagnostic tool.

The project’s lead researcher, Bridgette Tonnsen, said, “We are partnering with the parents to coach them on how to do the research in their homes where the children will be more comfortable rather than traveling long distance to a lab. This will be more efficient, cost-effective, more family-friendly, and, I think, as a result we will be able to collect more powerful data.”

So, not only could telemedicine help once a child is diagnosed with autism (or on the spectrum), research like this could actually help to diagnose infants as well. This is crucial, since early intervention can be imperative in starting the child early on treatments and therapies that will be most effective for the alleviation of their symptoms. Whether telemedicine is being used to diagnose or to treat, it’s helping to change autism treatment for the better.

Should Parents Use Telemedicine To Care For Children?

In an age where digital devices are becoming more and more prevalent, many tasks are becoming simpler for us thanks to our new tech-based companions. While most of these tasks include the non-essentials such as texting, learning languages and checking our bank balance, this new technology includes plenty of important applications as well. We can use our smartphone to keep track of our heart rate, measure how much exercise we’re getting per day, and even check in with our doctor. The latter is called telemedicine, and although it utilizes the most modern devices on the market (smartphones, tablets, etc.), it’s a practice that has been around for decades.

Telemedicine is essentially defined as the utilization of clinical services through telecommunications. For a large number of years, this meant a telephone; but recently, with the light speed development of communications technology, telemedicine has found a whole new place in the world, and people up and down the country are utilizing it for medical purposes. This has a number of advantages. One of the most obvious is that it benefits people who are either physically unable to get to their doctors, or live too far away from one to avail of it consistently. Take for example a handicap parking permit; a patient who requires one of these essential tools for the disabled is often not able to visit a doctor’s office to get one. Telemedicine solves this issue by letting the patient confer with a doctor from the comfort of their home. This is just one concrete example of how telemedicine is making medical practice more accessible to people who need it.

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Many parents use telemedicine to care for their children with lightening-quick results.


When it comes to the health of their children, many parents rightly refuse to compromise. When kids get sick, they react differently than adults, and the younger they are, the harder they find it to express their symptoms in words. This in turn makes parents more likely to seek medical care as soon as possible.  There’s something reassuring about going to see a living, breathing doctor and having them check your child for symptoms. However, parents should definitely consider using telemedicine to care for their children as it comes with a whole host of benefits.

Chief among these benefits is the ability to confer with medical professionals straight away. As mentioned above, parents want a lightning fast response when their children are struck down with sickness. With telemedicine, you don’t even have to leave your house. You can start up your laptop or your tablet, and very soon be in consultation with a medical professional. This is especially applicable for families who don’t live near a doctor’s office; it can save precious time and also provide a baseline peace of mind for parents whose children suffer from a chronic disorder or are prone to sickness.

Divan Medical - telemedicine

If you’re a parent, you could consider using telemedicine to treat your children’s minor ailments.

Going hand in hand with this valuable timesaving feature is the fact that, on a whole, telemedicine costs much less than in-person clinic visits. This is great news for families who might be hard pressed to come up with the doctor’s fee every time their child needs to visit the clinic; it can can dramatically reduce these costs, as well as negating any travel costs associated with doctor’s visits. On the other side of the line, telemedicine also reduces hospital and clinic costs; doctor’s can get through more patients in the day, and the use of online technology serves to reduce admin costs associated with in-person visits. Telemedicine can also reduce non-necessary ER visits but getting symptoms checked out at home first, to ascertain whether an ER trip is required.

Children are often referred to specialists to get to the bottom of their particular health issues, and telemedicine can also help on this front. Traditionally, with any ailment that require specialized treatment, a primary care physician is merely the gatekeeper for a referral. Also, as a patient, you are shackled to the nearest specialist to your home or local area. With telemedicine, you can seek out the best specialist possible for your child, because the limits of proximity are removed. For patients in rural areas, this is especially beneficial, and reduces waiting times if the specialist in question is catering for many separate patients across a large area.

It might seem like a big leap when compared to the tried-and-tested clinic visits, but studies show that 74% of patients prefer easy access to their healthcare, and have come to fully embrace telemedicine. When it comes to children’s health, no risk is worth taking; the practise of telemedicine is one that can revolutionise the way America looks at healthcare, and comes with many benefits for patients and medical professionals alike. Ultimately, telemedicine is only going to become more prevalent as the technology evolves to support it. Jumping on this particular bandwagon as soon as possible will prove advantageous for patients (and parents) up and down the United States!

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