TelePractice and stuttering
An exciting development of stuttering treatment is telepractice. In telepractice consultations, the Lidcombe and Camperdown Programs are delivered by webcam internet. Not only can treatment be accessed without leaving home or work, but also it has been shown to be effective (Carey et al, 2010, 2012, 2014).
Clients report many advantages to telepractice treatment:
Everything you need to know (5 mins) is explained about our telepractice centre here. More about what teleprcatice sessions are like is here.
Some parents are concerned that their young child may not be able to concentrate or sit still for the length of a session in front of a computer. We understand this concern, but wish to reassure you that, for most part, your child will be not be in front of the computer, but simply playing or looking at an activity in the same room as you. As happens in the clinic, most of the session, your speech pathologist will be speaking and working with you; only for a small portion of the session will your child be asked to sit in front of the computer. During that time, you will be asked to chat with your child or to look at a book with them (they are not expected to speak only to the clinician). This gives the therapist an opportunity to listen to your child’s speech, and for you to demonstrate how you have been doing the therapy.
Research has shown that children who receive therapy in this way can progress as quickly as children who are having therapy at a clinic. Therefore, you can expect your child’s speech to improve as if they were having their therapy in the clinic.
If your child is younger than 6 years, it would be appreciated if you could prepare your child for the session by bringing to the session a book, toy, or anything that prompts them to talk. It may also be helpful to have another activity available for your child to do that you do not need to closely supervise for after they have finished talking, and while you have 1:1 discussion with the clinician. This can be any activity that occupies them, and that they enjoy e.g. Lego, craft, watching a DVD.
For children younger than 13, the parent is required to sit with the child for the duration of the session, unless otherwise stated by your clinician.
Adult and adolescent clients
Your telepractice appointments will be very similar to your appointments in the clinic. Your speech pathologist with initiate the contact, and once you start talking and practising with them, you will quickly forget about the computer or phone screen between you! Research has shown that therapy delivered by telepractice over phone or webcam is just as effective as therapy in clinic. You are therefore likely to continue to make good progress with your stuttering control.
Please have a recording device (e.g. a smartphone, tablet or digital recorder) available at the appointment if you have one, because you may be asked to use it to record practice tasks.
Does telepractice produce similar results to in-clinic therapy?
Delivery of the Camperdown program by telepractice is as effective as in-clinic treatment, but takes even fewer hours (O'Brian et al, 2008; Carey et al, 2010). Delivery of the Lidcombe Program by telepractice is as effective as in-clinic treatment, but may take longer (Lewis et al, 2008). It should therefore be reserved for cases where in-clinic treatment is not available.
What have other clients reported about telepractice?
For both programs, clients typically express that telepractice treatment is enjoyable, flexible, and less imposing on their lives. Furthermore, they find it easy to establish a constructive relationship with the clinician.
Our expertise in telepractice
Our clinic is at the forefront of telepractice. Of our clinicians, Brenda Carey and Shane Erickson have chosen telepractice as the subject of their doctoral studies. Through our close relationship with the Australian Stuttering Research Centre we are able to help this field continue to develop. Our clinicians have treated clients all over Australia and in many countries including The United Sates, Canada, Great Britain, Switzerland, Italy, Lebanon, Israel, South Africa, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Dubai, Singapore, China, Japan and New Zealand.
You can arrange a telepractice consultation by emailing Brenda.
Carey, B., O’Brian S., Onslow M., Block S., Jones M., Packman A. A randomised controlled non-inferiority trial of a telehealth treatment for chronic stuttering: the Camperdown Program. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders. 2009 Apr 22:1-20. [Epub ahead of print]
Carey, B., O’Brian, S., Onslow, M., Packman, A., & Menzies, R. (2012). Webcam delivery of the Camperdown Program for adolescents who stutter: A Phase I trial. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 43, 370-380.
Carey, B., O’Brian, S., Lowe, R., and Onslow, M., (2014). Webcam delivery of the Camperdown Program for adolescents who stutter: A Phase ll trial. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 45, 314–324.
Lewis C., Onslow M., Packman A., Jones M., Simpson J.A. (2008). Phase II trial of telehealth delivery of the Lidcombe Program of Early Stuttering Intervention. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 17, 139-49.