Introduction to Teletherapy: How Effective Is It?

Milestone has been hard at work integrating teletherapy in order to continue providing children it serves with physical, occupational, speech and developmental therapy, as well as ABA interventions. These changes were brought about because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however there are numerous studies that show teletherapy is an effective way to provide services to children.

Research Findings

The following studies have found that teletherapy is just as effective as traditional in-person therapy sessions1:

  • A review of studies examining telehealth assessments and interventions for children with autism found that services delivered via telehealth were equally as effective as services provided face-to-face, and better than the comparison groups that did not offer telehealth (Sutherland, Trembath & Roberts, 2018).
  • A study looked at whether speech language pathology (SLP) interventions via telehealth were as effective as traditional, in-person delivery and found that both telehealth and in-person participants made significant and similar improvements (Wales, Skinner & Hayman, 2017).
  • A study looked at the effectiveness of occupation-based coaching through telehealth for families of young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and found that parent competence and various domains of child participation significantly increased after the treatment session2.

Little girl on computer screen during teletherapy

Image source: https://www.usm.edu/news/2020/release/childrens-center-continues-therapy-online.php

Evidence from an additional study suggests that strong relationships and rapport can be built with families via live video visits1. The study was conducted on telehealth-delivered occupational therapy to help gain a better understanding of the experience through the perspective of the parents.

During the 12-week study, parent interviews were analyzed for common themes to understand how parents perceived teletherapy and the interventions provided. Parents expressed how telehealth effectively:

  • Fit within their daily lives
  • Supported collaborative relationships with occupational therapists
  • Contributed to a sense of empowerment

Mom and daughter practicing therapy activity

Image source: https://www.gettingsmart.com/2017/09/a-parents-call-to-action-leveraging-personalized-learning-for-your-child/

Although multiple studies show that teletherapy is effective, our therapists and the children we serve need your help to succeed. In order to gain the best possible results for your child:

  • Practice what is learned throughout the week as you perform your home exercise program in the same way you practice what you learn during face-to-face visits.
  • Prioritize and stick to the schedule that you and your therapist have developed.

Please reach out to our helpful staff if you have any questions or would like further information.

reach out to us to learn about teletherapy options

1 Wallisch, Anna and Little, Lauren. “Introduction to Live Video Visits.” Youtube, 5 April 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n86V9qqidy4&feature=youtu.be

2 Little, L.M., Pope, E., Wallisch, A., & Dunn, W. (2018). Occupation-Based Coaching by Means of Telehealth for Families of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 72. 7202205020. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2018.024786