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Telepractice, speech disorders, fluency disorders, apraxia, dysarthria, voice disorders, systematic review


Purpose: Children and adults with speech disorders face numerous barriers in accessing traditional face-to-face services with a speech-language pathologist. Telepractice may be a feasible solution. The aim of this systematic review was to investigate the efficacy of telepractice in the assessment and treatment of speech disorders in children and adults.

Methods: Research articles were ascertained from Ovid MEDLINE, PsychInfo, and CINAHL using an established and consistent search strategy that utilized both medical subject headings and subject terms related to telepractice. The predetermined inclusion criteria included diagnosis of a speech disorder, participants across the lifespan, direct comparison of both delivery methods (i.e., telepractice to face-to-face), and objective outcome measures. Articles were excluded due to lack of speech disorder diagnosis, use of purely subjective outcome measures, and lack of direct comparison of delivery methods. Quality assessment was established by the authors using the criteria in the Assessing the Quality and Applicability of Systematic Reviews and a rating scale (i.e., 'poor,' 'fair,' 'good,' 'strong').

Results: Electronic searches of the databases resulted in the acquisition of 16 full-text research studies, which were used in this systematic review. The quality of the studies ranged from 'poor' to 'strong' with a majority of the articles rated as 'good.' The studies explored telepractice efficacy in speech sound disorders, fluency disorders, dysarthria, apraxia, and voice disorders.

Conclusions: Generally, the quality of intervention delivered via telepractice is comparable to traditional face-to-face therapy. Additional research involving diverse populations with varied levels of severity in natural environments is required to confirm the efficacy of the delivery method. It is imperative the use of telepractice is considered by each clinician on a per case basis.


Nancy Gauvin, EdD, CCC-SLP

The Efficacy of Telepractice in the Assessment and Treatment of Speech Disorders: A Systematic Review