Kent State’s Speech-language Therapy Services Provided to 100 Rural Students Via Video Conferencing
Rural and underserved Ohio students are able to receive speech-language therapy services through Kent State University via an innovative online videoconferencing system. More than 100 children enrolled in preschool through high school with identified communication impairments from Montpelier Exempted Village Schools in northwest Ohio and Greenfield Exempted Village Schools in southeast Ohio are receiving speech-language therapy services through Kent State’s telepractice project.
Kent State faculty members Patty Chafin and Robin Alvares, Ph.D., are part of the telepractice project and provide needed therapy services through live, two-way interactive video conferencing to children five days a week.
Nationally and at the state level there is a shortage of speech-language pathologists, and these two school districts have had a difficult time recruiting and retaining qualified speech-language pathologists. Telepractice allows for these children to acquire these much needed services that they would otherwise not receive.
The students attend their sessions individually or in small groups of two to three students. At the school site, the children are accompanied to their sessions by an assistant known as an eHelper who ensures that the technology is working, that the children are in view of the web camera, and also assists with other trouble shooting duties.
As a pioneer in this field, Kent State’s Speech Pathology and Audiology program has trained five to six graduate students each semester to learn how to provide speech-language therapy services using the telepractice service delivery model since 2008. This opportunity helps to prepare students for a future work environment that will include a telehealth/telepractice model.
Future plans for the program include experimenting with telepresence robots to provide services directly within the regular education classroom and to increase collaboration among other professionals.
For information about Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services, visit www.kent.edu/ehhs.
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A student at Montpelier Schools receives speech therapy services through videoconferencing from a speech-language pathologist, Robin Alvares, in Kent, Ohio. The student is accompanied by the eHelper, a trained assistant, who is available during the videoconferencing sessions.
Sue Grogan-Johnson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 330-672-0250
Emily Vincent, email@example.com, 330-672-8595