The Pros and Cons of Online Speech Therapy for Kids
Due to recent events and advancements in technology, parents have been opting for online speech therapy for their kids. Children can continue with their education and get help with their speech and language issues from the comfort and safety of their homes. However, learning via web access has both positives and downsides. Here are some factors to consider.
Understanding Speech Therapy and How It Works
So what, exactly, is speech therapy? Provided by a speech and language pathologist (SLP), speech therapy evaluates and treats children, identifying communication struggles and helping them speak and listen with greater proficiency. Most schools have a trained therapist on their staff to help children dealing with articulation and verbal comprehension. These professionals also help with developing proper fluency, understanding instructions and social cues, and expressing themselves clearly. Children may perform exercises under the therapist’s direction to tone their facial and throat muscles to form words clearly.
Teletherapy Can Prove Beneficial
Now that kids are attending digital classrooms using tools like Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet, speech therapy is also offered online. Parents can sign up their kids for teletherapy sessions with trained SLPs.
Most virtual sessions proceed much like personal one-on-one sessions. Therapists use cue cards, images, books, reading classes, and verbal exercises such as poems and rhymes to help kids with their speech challenges. This method of teaching has several advantages.
Most importantly, therapists can continue to treat their patients without having to meet them personally. Children need not miss out just because of stay-at-home orders. Considering that the key to successful therapy is repetition and practice, kids can continue to make progress even if they are at home. Therapists can connect with kids in real-time, having interactive practice lessons via the web access using audio and video applications.
Another essential of speech therapy is group classes. Kids learn best when watching their friends speak words, recite poems, and perform actions and exercises. Teletherapy allows SLPs to conduct sessions with multiple students, each mimicking the motions other kids make and learning quickly. Interacting with their friends and having fun while they work is essential to maintain interest.
Children Can Access Learning Programs Using their Android Tablet or iPad.
Recent speech therapy programs are easy to access and use. You won’t have to invest in special apps or download and install them for video conferencing. The sessions are brought to you via live streaming. Parents only need to permit screen access to the therapist. Complete confidentiality is maintained as the SLP designs classes around the child’s specific deficits and works on correcting them. For instance:
- They may take over the screens to make small adjustments and adapt images, so the child understands them better.
- Words are added and removed according to the student’s advancing capabilities.
- Visual tools make the entire session fun and interesting. Kids can tap on an image to see an animation that reveals more about the bird or animal. Or, perhaps, the letter and words that start with the letter.
- SLPs can watch and evaluate the child to make recommendations for additional classes accordingly.
- Parents can be present in the room when the class is in progress to understand how to conduct reading lessons.
Is Online Speech Therapy Right for Your Family?
While adopting technology to continue with speech therapy sessions is a great idea, it can have some downsides also. Here are some factors you will want to keep in mind.
- Children need web access with a high-speed internet connection and devices like laptops, PCs, tablets, or phones to connect with their therapists. Students with unreliable internet access or a bustling home where they can’t concentrate may find it hard to acquire these essentials.
- Getting kids to sit still and attend classes can be challenging. Parents may have to supervise to ensure that the child maintains focus.
- Effective speech therapy is also about picking by facial expressions and subtle body language cues. Children learn best when they watch how facial muscles work and coordinate sounds with lip movement. With the quality limitations of video, they could miss out on these intricacies and nuances of speech therapy. This could result in slower progress.
- Equipment failure and breaks in internet connection could hamper real-time classes. Both students and therapists have to learn to navigate applications. Often, small errors like keying in the wrong password or students being unable to log in could lead to unwanted delays in getting the classes going.
- Considering that many kids also rely on the internet to keep up with their regular studies and curriculum, speech therapy could add to the total digital time and fatigue.
Using technology and web access to ensure that kids keep up their education and speech therapy is a great idea whether they are taking virtual school classes or not. However, parents, kids, and therapists have to work their way around the challenges so that the program achieves the desired results.