The idea of using information and communication technology to enhance speech pathology practice is not new. Research into online or telehealth services has been conducted since the 1970s. However, the rapid growth in inexpensive, sophisticated technology, coupled with Australia’s geographically dispersed population and the consequent inequity of access to services, as well as the increasing demand for speech pathology services, has resulted in wider acceptance and an influx of research to support online or telehealth services.
Validity and reliability has been established for the use of online speech pathology in a number of screening and formal language, oromotor, articulation and literacy assessments. Online speech pathology has also been used by multidisciplinary teams to assess young children with multiple disabilities and following paediatric brain injury. The use of online speech pathology with school aged children has also been reported, with a randomised controlled trial providing evidence for the provision of speech sound treatment, along with the communication training of caregivers to support children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
There is a large amount of evidence supporting online assessment of speech and language disorders for acquired and developmental neurological conditions using standardised assessments, informal assessments, and discourse analysis. Multiple studies have also shown equivalency with standard care in the delivery of treatment for language and cognitive communication disorders and the training of caregivers