We learned from the pandemic that many things we used to think had to be done face-to-face can be accomplished virtually. Not only is that the case for virtual speech therapy, but virtual care has additional benefits that make it an even better option.
Some background — communication disorders, including post-stroke, aphasia, stuttering, brain injury, or autism, impact 46 million Americans – that’s more than the 37.3 million Americans living with diabetes.
Studies show that people with communications disorders are more likely to feel socially isolated, experience poorer health, be unemployed or underemployed, and suffer from depression. Children affected by childhood speech sound disorder (SSD) struggle more with social participation and academic success.
The Benefits of Virtual Speech Therapy
- Virtual speech therapy is effective: Many patients prefer therapy at their homes. For example, patients with facial paralysis due to stroke or kids with autism may be more comfortable interacting with a therapist at home, using a computer, than traditional brick-and-mortar outpatient therapy setting. The limited interaction with the receptionist or potentially other patients can minimize the feeling of not having to put their speech disorder on display to strangers. Patients who are more at ease often respond better to the therapy and may even complete their therapy in less time.
- Virtual speech therapy can provide a great match between the patient and therapist: With an exacting screening process, patients are matched with a licensed speech therapist with specific subspecialty training and experience. No one-size-fits-all for virtual speech therapy care. This includes targeted care for disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, cognitive speech disorder, head and neck cancer, hearing loss, Parkinson’s disease, and articulation disorders. Great Speech also utilizes a matching application to provide an even more exacting match between patients and speech therapists.
- Virtual speech therapy helps overcome socio-economic barriers to care: Healthcare is in the midst of a revolution. A value-based care delivery model focusing on getting and keeping people well replaces the longstanding delivery model of only managing people when they are ill. To achieve such metrics, care must be accessible and readily available. For example, virtual speech therapy corrects the longstanding problem of waiting weeks for an appointment at a brick-and-mortar therapy site in urban and rural areas. Online care also overcomes transportation and neighborhood complications that, in part, pose social determinants of health (SDoH) barriers.
- Virtual speech therapy saves families time and resources: Double-income households are more of the norm. If a child or elderly parent needs to get to a therapy clinic or facility, it means a parent must take time from work or use personal time off to accommodate the schedule. It also means fueling up a vehicle in a high gasoline price market to make the appointment. Virtual speech therapy allows these families to get the care they need in the familiar surroundings of their home, at their convenience. All that is required is a computer or device and an internet connection, which is standard in most homes.
Virtual Speech Therapy is Kind to People
Remember, the cost of doing nothing to help people with communication disorders is high. The estimated cost of caring for people with communication disorders is pegged at $154 billion to $186 billion annually. Much of this expense is from direct care for people with communication disorders. Also, lost wages due to the inability or limited ability to work contributes.
But most heartbreaking is the human cost. People with difficulty with speech often feel frustration and even anger at themselves for their inability to communicate. Imagine how depressing and isolating this can be. Fortunately, virtual speech therapy doesn’t have to be that way.
About Great Speech Inc.
Great Speech is the pioneer and recognized leader in virtual speech therapy and, since 2014, has delivered convenient, specialized services to clients anytime, anywhere. Its innovative approach leverages technology to match credentialed therapists with children, adults, and seniors who need and seek better speech communication. Proud recipient of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certification. www.greatspeech.com
Avivit Ben-Aharon is the CEO and Clinical Director at Great Speech, Inc, founded in 2014. She trailblazed virtual access to speech therapy, allowing anyone who is committed to improving their communication to receive expert services–regardless of location or scheduling limitations. Her work has been featured on Good Morning America, the US News and World Report, the Miami Herald, and more.
When Avivit was 14 years old, her family immigrated to the United States. At the time, she didn’t speak English and struggled to communicate at school. This inspired her to help other people avoid the frustrations she experienced.
However, after working as a speech therapist for over a decade, she saw countless situations where people could not access the therapeutic services they needed. Traditional methods of therapy didn’t integrate easily with modern-day lifestyles. Avivit began experimenting with technology to deliver speech therapy entirely online.
Not only did this allow greater convenience, but it also enabled her to hire the best therapists in the country and leverage a highly personalized client-to-therapist pairing process. Now, Great Speech employs over 50 speech therapists and serves thousands of clients with varying focus areas.