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Is Online Speech Therapy Effective for Children?

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

Since the pandemic, online speech therapy has grown in popularity, with more families and speech therapists opting to give and receive services virtually from the comfort and safety of their own homes. A slew of studies has demonstrated that online speech therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy. In reality, teletherapy has been recognized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) as a viable mode of service delivery for speech therapy disorders, based on a large body of data.

Now the question arises, why is online speech therapy preferred over offline speech therapy? What type of therapy is used for online speech therapy and when should a parent be concerned about their child’s speech delay? We will be answering all these questions in this blog.

When should a parent be concerned about a child who isn't talking?

A doctor should be consulted right once if a newborn does not respond to sound or vocalize. However, it can be difficult for parents to tell if their kid is missing a speech or language milestone or if there is a problem.

There are some things to look out for if you're worried about your child's speech and language development. It could be a cause for concern if the child:

  • By 12 months, he or she isn't making gestures like pointing or waving bye-bye.

  • By 18 months, preferring to communicate through gestures rather than vocalizations

  • By the age of 18 months, he or she has difficulty imitating noises.

  • has difficulty comprehending simple verbal requests

  • by 2 years: can only copy speech or motions and does not spontaneously form words or phrases, unable to follow simple instructions

  • at two years: only repeats a few sounds or sentences and can't use oral language to communicate anything other than their current needs

Most of the remote cities and even tier 2 cities in India don't have access to infrastructure or services that can help children that require special attention. With the reach of the internet in recent decades to the most remote places, it has become easier for people to connect with specialists or therapists online and receive the same quality of service in the comfort of their homes.

In online therapy, the therapist delivers the therapy via the parent or guardian. The therapist will interact with the parent and convey instructions on activities to be done with the children as a part of their therapy. This in turn benefits parents as they get to be more involved in their child’s care journey and hence get to understand their child better through this whole process. They get an understanding of the basics of the therapy practices and thus can help their child throughout the day as and when needed. In offline therapy, patients only get 3 hours a week with their therapists. But when the same treatment is implemented online, it enables the process to be much more effective for your child. One of the most common approaches to online speech therapy is play-based therapy. Let us take a look at play-based therapy and how effective it is.

If you want to know more about speech therapy and its importance, read this.

Is it true that play-based speech therapy is effective?

You might be wondering why your child's speech therapist spends so much time with them playing. Fun is an important component of any successful speech-language therapy session. To make growth, children must first and foremost feel motivated and involved. This is when play emerges as the appropriate setting for a wide range of communication objectives, from sound imitation to conversational skills.

Play is the stage, toys are our props, and we are the players in play-based therapy, free to invent any number of scenarios to practice communication skills. Playing with farm animals in a toy barn to practice imitating speech sounds is one example.

For some children, "acting out" classroom themes with a school set and toy characters can help them improve their verbal abilities. For others, it may be as simple as blowing bubbles to encourage shared attention and modeling of single words like "Pop!" and "More bubbles!" The options are practically limitless!

Children are generally more responsive to the family members and that is one more reason why over the last 2 years since the pandemic, we have anecdotal evidence that online therapies have performed better. Under the right guidance, and a good treatment plan a parent can build a mini therapy center within their home

  • Play is a source of inspiration. Motivation is required before any progress can be accomplished. A youngster must want to explore, engage, interact, and discover in the company of a caring, active adult. Children learn best when they are engaged in activities that are suited to their unique interests and requirements, and when they are simply having fun!

  • Play fosters the development of pleasant associations. It's critical to cultivate children's attitudes toward communication. Frustration about speaking can often be a part of the journey for kids who require extra help developing their speech and language skills. Play-based activities make achieving communication goals a pleasurable experience. The more positive and successful a speech-language therapy session is, the more likely it is that children will want to test out their newly acquired abilities in other settings, such as school, the library, and extracurricular activities.

  • Play gives a natural setting in which to communicate. Play is an important element of childhood because it encourages exploration, creativity, and imagination. It's also a framework in which kids can practice and understand how to communicate in the actual world by simulating their "real life" experiences. Children become well-prepared to transfer their new skills into their regular routines by promoting this type of practice during speech-language sessions and focusing on specific goals inside play situations. For instance, "acting out" a pretend play scenario with a school set and toy figurines will easily translate to a child's real-life school experiences.

  • Play encourages the development of interpersonal relationships. Play is the tool that relaxes a child, builds trust, and inspires enthusiasm for session activities. Play is also where youngsters first begin to notice their peers, beginning with simple social games like peek-a-boo. Play grows more sophisticated as youngsters grow older. It's not uncommon to hear older children exchanging imaginative ideas, each adding to a complex pretend plot with several characters, events, and resolves. Long-lasting friendships are frequently formed during these play sessions.

  • Play promotes social and emotional growth. Children frequently utilize play as a means of comprehending their own personal experiences. Kids can use play to work through emotions and feelings. For example, a 2-year-old child spotted a sobbing child in the pediatrician's waiting area. It appeared to make an impact as she spent much of the next week engrossed with her dolls. She'd then dash over to the doll, hugging, kissing, and rocking it affectionately. This can be a great way for a parent to teach their daughter or "practice" with her via play to teach her about social interactions. This was a terrific way to begin utilizing play to make sense of the experience of becoming a big sister, which would undoubtedly bring up a wide range of emotions.

  • Play is beneficial to all aspects of development. All aspects of development are intertwined and can have a variety of effects on communication. Play promotes not only speech-language capabilities, but also social skills, fine and gross motor skills, problem-solving abilities, and attention and memory abilities, to mention a few!

For some conditions, offline therapy is still preferred but for most cases, the online therapy experience and its outcome match the offline experience. That being said, this can change from person to person depending on parents’ ability to engage in therapy, the responsiveness of children to the therapy, and a number of other factors. The first step to this whole process will be to consult a speech therapist online or in person. For people living in places where speech therapy services are not viable, online therapy is the best and in some cases the only option. If you are looking for online speech therapy, you can take a look at our speech therapy services.

Daffodil Health is creating an ecosystem to help families and parents of kids with special needs. In the same endeavor, we have launched parent training events and a marketplace for learning aids, toys, and much more.

Follow the link to know about all the Upcoming Parent Training Events.

Follow this link to look at all the products that can be helpful for your child.

Hope you find all the resources useful. If you want to contribute to Daffodil Health's mission or become a part of the team, please reach out to We would love to get you onboard and work together towards unlocking the 10% workforce potential.

That’s all for this blog. We hope it proved to be helpful and answered some of your questions.

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