I began providing speech and language services through telepractice about two and a half years ago, and I’ve never looked back! I have found telepractice to be extremely beneficial for treating adults with aphasia in so many ways. In honor of Aphasia Awareness Month, I would like to share my top five benefits:
- No transportation required. Telepractice allows these individuals, many of whom also have physical impairments, to receive speech and language therapy anywhere, anytime. They do not have to rely on family members or friends to drive them to an outpatient facility. For some individuals in more rural locations, this commute can be quite lengthy!
- Connecting people with aphasia. Telepractice gives people with aphasia a chance to meet and interact with other people with aphasia in a group setting. I worked with one client who was eight years post-stroke, and he’d never interacted with another person with aphasia … how unfortunate is that! But conducting teletherapy with him allowed me to introduce him to other adults (some in other states) who shared his condition and concerns—interactions he otherwise would have never had!
- Ease of incorporating the Life Participation Approach to Aphasia (LPAA). LPAA is a client-centered treatment approach that aims to reduce the consequences of aphasia by helping individuals reengage in life activities and regain control of their own recovery. Treating a client in their natural setting allows for opportunities to address real-life situations and incorporate daily activities. Telepractice provides SLPs with a glimpse into the daily life of the person with aphasia outside of the clinical setting.
- Promotes family engagement and involvement. A family-centered approach is essential when providing aphasia treatment. Telepractice makes it easier for family, caretakers, friends, and so forth to attend therapy sessions and play a more active role in the treatment process. Telepractice has allowed me to provide families with training for communication partners, with facilitation strategies, and with continuing home treatment plans for use with their loved ones.
- Stimulating and engaging technology. The videoconferencing platform we use has many interactive features that allow users to share their screens, write text, draw, color, and more. I can easily pull up Google Translate to help me with my Spanish-speaking clients, YouTube to watch an old Beatles music video, or CNN to read a current news article. Telepractice also helps my clients with aphasia become more comfortable with technology!
Comments from Family Members
“My wife looks forward to her weekly session with TalkPath Live, and it is a very easy system to log on to!”
“TalkPath Live has allowed my husband to continue to improve his communication skills, and I as a caregiver don’t have to drive him anywhere!”
“If it were up to her, she would do a session every day—that is how much she enjoys the group sessions.”
“My husband looks forward to his sessions every week, and it is an important social connection for him as well as an important therapeutic opportunity.”
“The sessions vary in content and include current events and talking with my husband about his daily life.”