2017: Speech pathology and telehealth: from assessment and intervention to community capacity building

Pfeiffer, S. Speech pathology and telehealth: from assessment and intervention to community capacity building. Success and Failure in Telehealth conference, Brisbane, October 2017.


For many health professions, the delivery of a telehealth services
requires more than simple talking heads. In this paper, we focus on
custom functionality needs in speech pathology and how a variety of
speech pathology services have been delivered using an affordable
web-based solution. Three case studies will be presented together with
scientific evidence of their efficacy, all using the same adaptable

(1) Assessment: we use a custom interface to provide standardised
language assessments via telehealth. In a study of 23 school aged
children with reading difficulties, a speech pathologist based in Sydney
delivers the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals – 4th ed. to
students in a remote hub. Results showed that the assessments were
valid, feasible and well tolerated by the children.

(2) Intervention: students with significant learning difficulties in rural and
remote areas in NSW are provided with a remote speech pathology
intervention through their school – a service impossible to source locally.
Providing about 30 interventions a month to students with their teachers
has a substantial impact on students’ communication and literacy skills,
giving them tools relevant to the rest of their lives.

(3) Community capacity building: the Sounds, Words, Aboriginal
Language and Yarning (SWAY) program builds speech pathology
capacity of rural and remote teaching staff in NSW. SWAY is an oral
language and early literacy programme for preschool and kindergarten
students. Targeted small group speech pathology is delivered and
provides intervention to ‘at risk’ (tier 2) students, modelling of evidence
based language strategies to teaching staff as well as advice and
onward referral, when required. The local teaching staff gain remote
professional development and ongoing mentoring, while the children get
early intervention. A focus on the local aboriginal language in the
program provides further community inclusion.


Download: https://event.icebergevents.com.au/sft-2017/program