Telepractice is "the application of telecommunications technology to the delivery of speech language pathology and audiology professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client/patient or clinician to clinician for assessment, intervention, and/or consultation (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2014, para. 1). Telepractice is able to extend the clinical reach of speech-language pathologists and other professionals by enabling them to provide face-to-face and/or consultation services irrespective of their geographical location. In addition, telepractice empowers individuals to access specialists and professionals that may be in geographically remote areas.
Tele-AAC is the use of telepractice service delivery models specifically for AAC intervention, assessment, consultation, training, and other AAC-related services. Anderson et al. (2012) described tele-AAC as a "unique cross-disciplinary clinical service delivery model that requires expertise in both telepractice and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems" (p. 80). There is a growing body of evidence that supports successful use of telepractice for AAC-related services (Baker et al., 2012; Hall, 2013; Hall & Boisvert, 2012; Quinn, Beukelman & Thiessen, 2011; Styles, 2008). Tele-AAC helps ensure that individuals with complex communication needs using AAC have access to highly qualified professionals who are able to implement evidence-based intervention strategies to maximize their growth, development and advancement.
Direct, face-to-face tele-AAC services require the ability to view the individual's AAC system via a webcam. Ideally, the clinician needs to be able to view how the individual interacts with his or her device. This is achieved using tools such as the J-Mount. Direct tele-AAC can be offered through the following methods:
Direct Text-Based Tele-AAC
Direct Tele-AAC with 2 Speech Generating Devices (SGDs)
Direct Tele-AAC with 1 SGD
Direct Tele-AAC using 1 Integrated SGD
Various forms of indirect, consultative AAC-related services can be provided via the following:
Active Consultation for Tele-AAC
eSupervision for Tele-AAC
eMentoring for Tele-AAC
Training for Tele-AAC
Anderson, K., Boisvert, M. K., Doneski-Nicol, J., Gutmann, M. L., Hall, N. C., Morelock, C., . . . Cohn, E. R. (2012). Tele-AAC Resolution. International Journal of Telerehabilitation, 4(2), 79–82.
Boisvert, M., Hall, N., Andrianopoulos, M., & Chaclas, J. (2012). The multi-faceted implementation of telepractice to service individuals with autism. International Journal of Telerehabilitation, 4(2), 11–24.
Hall, N. (2017). That Special Niche. The ASHA Leader, 22(3), 38-39. doi: 10.1044/leader.IPP.22032017.38.
Hall, N. & Boisvert, M. (2014, January). Clinical aspects related to tele-AAC: A technical report. Perspectives of Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 23, 18-33. doi:10.1044/aac23.1.18
Hall, N., Boisvert, M., Jellison, H. & Andrianopoulos, M. (2014). Language Intervention via Text-Based Tele-AAC: A Case Study Comparing On-site and Telepractice Services. Perspectives on Telepractice, 4(2), 61-70. doi: 10.1044/teles4.2.61.
Hall, N., Boisvert, M., & Steele, R. (2013). Telepractice in the assessment and treatment of individuals with aphasia: A systematic review. International Journal of Telerehabilitation, 5(1), 27–38.
Hall, N. C. (2013). An investigation of the efficacy of direct and indirect AAC service provision via telepractice. Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. Paper AAI3589032.
Baker, B., Brienza, D., Cohn, E., Egolf, D., Gomory, A., Jink, A., . . . Watzlaf, V. (2012, July). AAC meets telerehabilitation: Envisioning transformative tele-AAC research. Research symposium conducted at the meeting of the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative
Communication, Pittsburgh, PA.
Hall, N., & Boisvert, M. (2012, July). Telepractice to provide language intervention to a student using AAC: A case study. Presented at the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Pittsburgh, PA.
Hall, N., Boisvert, M., & Andrianopoulos, M. (2011, November). The feasibility and impact of telepractice to provide aided language training to graduate students working with clients using AAC Devices. Paper presented at the American Speech Language Hearing Association, San Diego, CA.
Styles, V. (2008). Service users’ acceptability of videoconferencing as a form of service delivery. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 14, 415–420.
Theodorus, D. (2011). Telepractice in speech-language pathology: The evidence, the challenges, and the future. Perspectives on Telepractice, 1, 10–21.
Quinn, E., Beukelman, D., & Thiessen, A. (2011). Remote instruction of potential AAC support personnel. Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 20, 97–101.