Telepractice vs. Tele-AAC
Because the very nature of AAC intervention includes an AAC system or tool, it is essential that the treating clinician is able to “have eyes” on the individual’s AAC system. This means having a second computer or iPad to be able to have a visual of the individual, as well as his her her AAC system.
What is Telepractice?
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.
What is Tele-AAC?
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