What is telepractice?

You may have heard people talk about telepractice and wondered how it works and whether it is suitable for families following an Auditory Verbal therapy programme.

Telepractice in the world of healthcare has been around for quite some time. Ten years ago, studies had already been published on the benefits of telepractice used when providing therapy for children (Romanow, K. et. al., 2010). The evolvement of video-conferencing technology, and the ease of its availability to many of our UK population, has meant that therapy sessions in virtual rooms have become easy to organise with minimal or no technical glitches.

Some families live far away from our physical centres and for many years have opted to attend their Auditory Verbal therapy sessions ‘virtually’ through various online platforms. The delivery of family-centred early intervention via telepractice has been the focus of several research studies showing equal benefits to that of intervention delivered in person by the therapist (Coufal, K. et. al., 2018; McCarthy, M. et. al., 2019, 2020)

How does telepractice work?

Auditory Verbal therapy is all about equipping parents with the skills and strategies to support their child’s listening and spoken language development.  Our aim is to coach and support parents so the main goal of each session, regardless of physical location and the therapist being physically or remotely present, is to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and examples to support their child in their everyday lives. This makes the use of telepractice much more straightforward, as the main service user is the parent. In essence, the need to be physically in the same room is greatly reduced as parents can still be coached by their AV therapist remotely and in the moment together with their child.  We work with families to achieve the same goals via telepractice as if we were in the same room in our centres. We set joint goals together ahead of the session, think about what toys or routines at home we will be using during the session and discuss the main learning and take-home messages from the session together. 

What do families need for telepractice?

At AVUK, we deliver sessions on SKYPE, ZOOM, Microsoft Teams, and FaceTime. All you need is a good internet connection and access to one of these free platforms on a device such as a laptop, iPad/tablet or smartphone with a camera and audio.  

Prior to your first telepractice session, we will be in touch about finding an online platform that will work best for you. We would recommend holding a 5-minute ‘test-the-tech’ session prior to your appointment so that we are all confident that the technical aspect is taken care of. If you are worried about your internet connection, we can also offer advice on how this can be boosted.

We will talk to you about the best place for you to have the session in your home. You may want it to be in your living room or kitchen. We will talk to you about how to create the best possible listening environment for your child – such as shutting a window or turning off an electrical appliance. Some soft furnishings like a table cloth can also go a long way in reducing noise from reverberation.

You may also wish to use specific toys during the session, but we will talk about this and we can make use of anything that you have in your home in your session.

What do parents say about telepractice?

I would highly recommend distance learning for families who are unable to access AV in person. You work with Your AV therapist setting the plan/goals for each session and have achievable take home messages at the end of each session.

Krystal, parent

Telepractice has been really effective for teaching us strategies. I like the fact that my son is more comfortable in his own environment.. my husband can more easily join the sessions, and the toys/objects we use in everyday life can easily be incorporated into the sessions.

Find out more about Ethan’s story here.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please email [email protected] or call us on 01869 325 000.