Be Telepractical Choosing which apps to use for providing services remotely? Three words: Keep it simple. App-titude
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App-titude  |   January 01, 2015
Be Telepractical
Author Notes
  • Nathan Curtis, MA, CCC-SLP, is a clinician at Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast, Maine. He is a lead instructor in the hospital’s accredited speech telepractice training program and a coordinator for telepractice sites. ncurtis@wcgh.org
    Nathan Curtis, MA, CCC-SLP, is a clinician at Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast, Maine. He is a lead instructor in the hospital’s accredited speech telepractice training program and a coordinator for telepractice sites. ncurtis@wcgh.org×
  • Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is an SLP and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts, and consultant to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie, looks at technology “through a language lens.” sean@speechtechie.com
    Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is an SLP and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts, and consultant to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie, looks at technology “through a language lens.” sean@speechtechie.com×
Article Information
Telepractice & Computer-Based Approaches / App-titude
App-titude   |   January 01, 2015
Be Telepractical
The ASHA Leader, January 2015, Vol. 20, 34-35. doi:10.1044/leader.APP.20012015.34
The ASHA Leader, January 2015, Vol. 20, 34-35. doi:10.1044/leader.APP.20012015.34
You might think that telepractice requires you to bring out the most whiz-bang technology out there. Not true.
The day-to-day of providing treatment through telepractice, as in traditional treatment, involves incorporating easy-to-use tools that best align with your treatment goals.
iPractice
First, does it make sense to use the iPad when providing telepractice services? Some challenges remain in incorporating mobile devices in sessions (see the authors’ previous column on this topic). Perhaps most important, the client and clinician cannot interact over the same device in the same way that they can with a computer and Web platform.
However, for adult clients, “mirroring”—or simply displaying the iPad screen (via programs such as AirServer, Reflector or QuickTime in the latest version of Mac OS X-Yosemite)—can be an effective way to present any relevant visual, as the novelty and interactive use of e-tools for engagement are not as critical as with younger clients. You can also share treatment materials with adult clients via programs like Dropbox, which allow them to open the materials on their own devices. Be sure to use more secure file-sharing programs when sharing health information.
When it comes to treating children, we recommend teaching children and their caregivers to use free and low-cost apps, such as Articulation Station (base app free for iOS, clinically relevant sound packs available for individual purchase). This way, families can continue skill-building work “offline” after sessions. Another we recommend is the sound-producing app I Hear Ewe (free for iOS) a simple addition to both sides of the treatment window that can be used to engage in vocabulary tasks or song routines.
Likewise, Pic Collage (free for iOS and Android) is useful for creating personally relevant, language-enhancing visual scenes and for encouraging families to do the same. This extremely versatile app provides straightforward tools for editing personal and Web-searched photos to create scenes that include contextual items to target description, prepositions or basic concepts.
Families also benefit from multimedia apps that include audio, video and images. Educreations Interactive Whiteboard is an easy-to-use app allowing for narration over any visual context (free for iOS). You can use it to explain materials during sessions or via e-mail. Families can view these materials as a model and produce and return similar activities to clinicians. You can also use the slideshow/video editing tool Videolicious to share video demonstrations and relevant pictures to model extension practice at home (free for iOS). Use without sign-in or in “airplane mode” to save videos to your camera roll rather than to the app’s website.
Personalize it
Personal connections with the client and family remain the key for effective telepractice sessions. Use apps and digital cameras to individualize sessions and build empowering partnerships. For example, have families snap several pictures of their child in any fun activity (such as taking horseback-riding lessons) and use them in highly motivating sequencing or story-building tasks.
The technology tools used to manage such materials are common and simple. You can arrange and sequence photographs in presentation tools such as Apple’s Keynote or Microsoft’s PowerPoint (both available for various platforms), or within e-book creation tools such as Book Creator (free iOS trial) or Little Bird Tales. PowerPoint and Keynote can easily be adapted to function as scene-creation tools using general or personalized photos as well.
Set context
Many telepractice activities involve interacting with or creating visual material. E-books continue to be a terrific resource in this regard: Free Kids’ Books allows you to download and display PDF versions of short children’s books useful for language intervention. Because these materials are in PDF format, they can be annotated with highlights, notes or drawings with applications such as Adobe Reader. StorylineOnline is a free video playlist that features Screen Actors’ Guild members reading children’s picture books. Available on YouTube, it also serves as a great context for working with language structures. For expressive language intervention, blogging provides a versatile outlet. Consider KidBlog, which is accessible across multiple platforms and has comprehensive security features.
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January 2015
Volume 20, Issue 1