Speech-Language Pathologist Perspectives of the Implementation of Telepractice-Delivered Stuttering Treatment for School-Age Children
journal contributionposted on 11.01.2022, 03:41 authored by Shane EricksonShane Erickson, Kate BridgmanKate Bridgman, Lisa Furlong, Hannah Stark
PURPOSE: The impact of stuttering can be significant, and effective treatment is critical. Despite evidence supporting direct treatment approaches for school-age children who stutter, a complex set of barriers can prevent access at school. One potential solution is telepractice. To date, however, there is no published evidence regarding the use of telepractice to deliver the Lidcombe Program within a school setting. METHOD: In this pilot study, a telepractice service was established and the perspectives of the five treating speech-language pathologists (SLPs) were evaluated before, during, and after the trial through focus groups and recorded telesupervision sessions. RESULTS: An inductive and reflexive thematic analysis identified four main themes: (a) Understanding and managing technology is critical; (b) logistical considerations can be time-consuming and challenging; (c) preparation and support are essential; and (d) family engagement, acceptance, and independence with telepractice services can be facilitated by external support and coaching. Initially, the SLPs shared feelings of uncertainty, fear, and apprehension. Yet, despite this concern, the SLPs ultimately reported that telepractice can play an important role in their service. CONCLUSIONS: In order to maximize the potential value of telepractice, SLPs require training and support to (a) manage the technology and troubleshoot problems that invariably arise, (b) have the opportunity to watch demonstrations of the technology, and (c) clearly explain the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of the parent engaging in treatment. These findings have particular relevance now, as schools and support services navigate a COVID-safe delivery model for the indefinite future.