Page 74 - FSJ June 2012

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74
F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / J U N E 2 0 1 2
S
CHOOLS
S
UPPLEMENT
occupational therapy can be delivered
during the child’s school day or after
school, depending on the resources
and preferences of each school.
Telepractice offers the opportuni-
ty not only to formalize a special edu-
cation plan, but to ensure its carry-
over from one school to the next.
Moreover, it ensures that services are
provided by a native speaker of
English. Very few Foreign Service
families would opt to have their chil-
dren educated by non-native English
speakers; why would we accept this
for children who require special ser-
vices?
For FS families, the need to find a
professional with the appropriate spe-
cialization is an additional serious
challenge. For example, every speech
pathologist offers therapy, but some
have specialties. A child with autism
might benefit from having a speech
pathologist who specializes in autism
or nonverbal communication, or an
occupational therapist who thorough-
ly understands the attention deficits
and sensory needs of a child with
autism. Here, too, telepractice can
provide the answer.
Caveats?
Sounds good, right? Well, like any-
thing new, there are naysayers. In my
research for this article I found very
few opponents of telepractice, but I
did encounter warnings.
Many therapists are simply not
convinced that their skills could possi-
bly be as effective when delivered
online. I know speech pathologists
who think that while telepractice is
probably better than nothing, it’s defi-
nitely not the best option. Others
believe that special training is required
to do online therapy, or that it is only
viable with certain populations. For
the most part, however, these con-
cerns have proved unfounded.
ASHA has clearly demonstrated
that therapy delivered via telepractice
is just as beneficial as traditional in-
person therapy. ASHA does not
require its therapists to have special
training, although there is no denying
Telepractice offers the
opportunity to both
formalize a special
education plan and
ensure its carryover from
one school to the next.