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COVID-19 has suddenly forced health professionals to switch from face-to-face to remote video conferencing to deliver many or most of their services. This article considers the current state of this service delivery model (also called telepractice) for speech and language therapy (SLT) in schools. Prior to the pandemic, this service model might have been chosen due to a lack of local access to SLT, rather than evidence to support the delivery of such a service. Since the pandemic, there have been two systematic reviews examining the small amount of research in this area. The reviews highlight there is little evidence examining service models for SLT in schools at all, and what there is demonstrates comparable results across face-to-face and remote delivery. However, telepractice doesn’t suit every child’s needs, often because there may be problems with access to the right technology rather than the child’s ability to use it. The speech and language therapist needs to make the appropriate preparations, undertaking training, sourcing the appropriate resources and preparing the environment, both for themselves and the student. The authors do flag, however, that looking beyond the current pandemic, telepractice has the potential to enhance SLT services. In can serve as an adjunct to face-to-face interventions, for example allowing speech and language therapists to support students who may not be in school (such as when suspended) or when managing large caseloads and significant distances between schools. The authors provide specific and transferable tips and guidance to the reader that can be useful for any health professional delivering a service remotely and considering how this will look beyond COVID-19.

The five W’s meet the three R’s: The who, what, when, where, and why of telepractice service delivery for school-based speech-language therapy services.
Grogan-Johnson S.
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Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

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