What is teletherapy?
Teletherapy was already growing in popularity over the last decade, and then the pandemic forced schools to shut down their buildings and move to online learning. Over night, teletherapy became the only option for special educators, even for those skeptical of its efficacy. But even after a year of online learning, some school administrators still ask us, “What is teletherapy?
The short answer: it’s just like in-person therapy, only it’s presented online.
Teletherapy is a way for therapists to offer their special education services via an online setting through live interactive video conferencing. This type of online therapy is referred to by different names:
- Internet Therapy
- Electronic Therapy
- Online Counseling
The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) describes teletherapy as a type of delivery where a Speech-Language Pathologist provides therapy and audiology services to a client using technology to bridge the distance. A similar definition can be applied to other disciplines.
Teletherapists, like E-Therapy’s nationwide team of credentialed licensed clinicians, deliver services from a remote, private location using video conferencing technology. E-Therapy specifically focuses on the therapy practices used in educational settings, such as
- Speech-Language Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Counseling & Mental Health Services
- Psych Ed
- Assessments & Diagnostics
Your school has unique needs. Learn about E-Therapy’s Direct Services and how we can serve you.
How does teletherapy work?
With teletherapy, the teletherapist and their student log into an online “room” or portal, quite similar to video conferencing or video chatting, to attend the therapy session. They are able to see each other, face-to-face, and communicate live, just as they would in an office or classroom.
With E-Therapy’s video conferencing platform, the therapist can share their screen, so any teletherapy activities and games they want to use during the session can be seen and shared with the student.
Is teletherapy effective?
In the 2018 study, Understanding teletherapy as an option for K-12 Students with Disabilities, researchers found that teletherapy, which focused mainly on young children, was as effective as services delivered with the therapist and the client in the same physical space.
According to ASHA,
“Teletherapy must be of equal quality to the therapy that would be provided in person. Each state has its own specific rules and regulations surrounding teletherapy.”
Teletherapy is HIPAA compliant and legal with specific variations from state to state.
Who is teletherapy for?
Innovative technology for schools in need
Teletherapy is a great option for schools, especially in rural districts, that may not be able to find a therapist in their area due to shortage of therapists or the need to drive from school to school to cover services.
E-Therapy founder, Diana Parafiniuk addressed the need for teletherapy in an ASHA interview, Telepractice in Schools: What Works Best?.
“Due to the therapist shortage, rural and inner-city schools face challenges and have difficulty staffing. Teletherapy offers an alternative for schools that have challenges finding in-person therapists to serve students.”
Offering teletherapy services helps your school district meet these needs by bringing the therapist to you remotely. This way, you can hire therapists licensed in your state from anywhere in the country, without having to worry about drive time or traveling from site to site. It can also help if you are limited on space in your buildings, as the therapist will be working from their own home office.
“Schools that are in need of therapists often find contractors who can only be onsite every other week or once a quarter due to travel and/or the remote location of school, or sometimes there is just a shortage of therapists in an area where a school is located. Teletherapy can offer therapy that meets the IEP frequency of service that is allotted to the student,” said Parafiniuk.
If you are in a virtual school, home-school your students, or even work in a private school setting, teletherapy can be the perfect solution to help you meet your students’ IEP goals, without having to switch your setting or schooling desires. Therapists can be contracted in to work with your students, no matter where you are or what type of school, so you are able to continue learning from where you are, while getting the school-based therapy services your students need.
Become an E-Therapy school partner
E-Therapy partners with hundreds of schools and districts across the United States. We can provide your school with therapists when you need them with E-Therapy’s Direct Services.