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IES Contract

Title: A Platform to Enable Remote Speech Language Therapy
Center: NCSER Year: 2010
Principal Investigator: Lynch, Jack Awardee: Presence Telecare, LLC
Program: Small Business Innovation Research in Special Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 8 months (06/01/2010 – 12/01/2010) Award Amount: $100,000
Type: Phase I Development Award Number: EDIES10P0011

In this project, the team developed a prototype of a web-based platform that speech language pathologists (SLPs) use to deliver remote sessions with students with speech and sound disabilities. The prototype included video and audio multi-party conferencing and chatting technologies as well tools such as whiteboards for writing and slideshows for sharing notecards and pictures. The architecture also includes a portal for recruiting and screening a network of remote SLPs, professional development training modules for speech therapists using the platform, and tools to support practitioners during the sessions, including intake forms used by the SLPs to track student progress during sessions. At the end of Phase I, the team conducted a pilot study over 10 weeks with two SLPs, and 13 students ages 6 to 11 with a diagnosis of a speech sound disability and who were enrolled in the SLPs' caseload. The team found that the prototype functioned as planned as no sessions were cancelled due to challenges or issues with the technology prototype, SLPs and students reported being able to use the technology platform and the platform consistently generated reliable and encrypted audio and video feed for provision of speech language therapy services to children. Results from interviews with the SLPs found that all agreed that students were able to make progress towards meeting their IEP goals and objectives using the web-delivered sessions compared to progress that would have been made during in-person sessions. All students agreed that the online sessions were acceptable for speech therapy and that they were engaged during the online sessions. Finally, between the start and end of the study, students demonstrated a  pre- to post-test increase in scores on the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation-2 (GFTA-2) for targeted speech sounds, a commonly used standardized assessment of speech sound production.