By Christine Whitmarsh, RN, BSN
There is a big demand for speech language pathologists and speech therapists in the schools to work with children diagnosed with developmental disorders such as Autism (where increased funding is being sought in state after state), with cognitive disorders, and articulation and language impairments. Traveling speech language pathologists and travel speech therapists are also encouraged to seek out these positions in schools.
While educators work to fill these open positions, speech-language pathologists at Kent State University in Ohio are working on an alternate solution to the conventional face-to-face, one-on-one SLP approach. They have started using a method of SLP practice called “telepractice” in various rural schools, as a way of delivering speech and language therapy remotely to students in need. For the pilot program, the students treated experienced articulation, phonological and language impairments. Similar to conventional SLP, the sessions went according to the child’s existing education plan. The difference was that the sessions were conducted between the SLP and child via a website, computer program and special software with an “e-helper” onsite to assist the child (not from a therapy standpoint). The Kent State SLP’s who conducted the study reported that one disadvantage they noted was reduced communication between the speech-language pathologist and the classroom teacher. They are currently reviewing results, comparing conventional to “telepractice” SLP and planning future studies.
There are similar telepractice and telemedicine program in various other disciplines in other states as well. Travel speech language pathologists and traveling speech therapists may not have immediate access to these types of technological advances in therapy yet. But, there are still numerous opportunities and slp travel jobs to work directly with children in schools who need speech therapy.
Source: Advance for Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists
Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.