Today, Noémie Bessay, a French speech therapist, tells us about remote speech therapy for expatriates. Remote speech pathology allows us to offer online speech therapy assessments and sessions. Noémie proposes these services via her website Monorthophonisteetmoi.com. In this article, she explains who is concerned by this telecare service and what are the advantages of remote speech therapy for expatriates.

Online speech therapy: For whom?

Remote speech therapy for 0 to 5-year-olds

Speech therapy concerns different pathologies: developmental delay, oral language difficulties, the establishment of a means of communication, a cleft lip and palate, an articulation disorder (lisp), stuttering, deafness and feeding difficulties. For the latter, the role of the speech-language pathologist is to determine whether it is a case of Sensory Dysorality Syndrome.

For patients under 5 years of age, the speech therapist adapts to the patient’s attentional capacities. The session takes place in the presence of the parent or an adult. If the child can sit still and concentrate for 10 minutes or more, one or more fun exercises will be conducted online. The speech therapist will share the exercises so that you can repeat them at home between sessions. If the child cannot sit still and concentrate, we will hold parental guidance sessions. The speech therapist will provide you with fun exercises to do with your child. He or she also offers pieces of advice to support your child in his or her difficulties and encourage him or her towards progress. The speech therapist may sometimes ask you to film an exercise or a moment of your daily life to analyze progress and adjust the speech therapy treatment. She will answer your questions about your child’s difficulties and together we will look for solutions to help him or her progress.

Remote speech therapy for 6 to 11-year- olds

For school-aged children, speech therapy sessions often uncover learning disorders: dyslexia (reading disorder), dysorthographia (spelling disorder), dysphasia (oral language disorder), dyscalculia (mathematical cognition disorder), or Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity. The speech therapy assessment carried out beforehand allows us to set the objective(s) of the sessions. For example, in the case of dysorthographia, the objective may be to increase the orthographic lexicon, that is, to develop the orthographic spelling of irregular words. In the case of dyscalculia, the objective of re-education may be to develop logical structures: classification, seriation, conservation, inclusion, combinatorial. A remote speech therapy follow-up can also include deglutition, stuttering or deafness.

Remote speech therapy for adults

  • Remote speech pathology after a stroke

Online speech therapy for adults regards people who have had a stroke or a head injury. After such an accident, my role as a speech therapist is to propose exercises to recover or compensate for a language, communication and deglutition disorder. Speech therapy exercises following a stroke allow the brain to be stimulated in order to recover cognitive and language functions, deglutition and to propose a means of communication to compensate for language difficulties.

  • Remote speech pathology for neurodegenerative pathologies

Remote speech therapy is intended for adults who have a neurodegenerative pathology: Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Locked-in Syndrome, etc. The goal of speech therapy sessions is to provide cognitive stimulation to maintain language and communication skills for as long as possible. For example, during a speech therapy for people with Alzheimer’s disease, the speech therapist offers exercises for memory-enhancement, mental flexibility, inhibition, written language, etc. In the case of Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis, the speech therapist stimulates the swallowing muscles and adapts the diet according to the patient’s abilities and difficulties. The speech therapist also performs breathing and vocal exercises to stimulate the phonatory system.

Remote speech therapy: what are the advantages for expatriates?

Frequency and regularity of sessions

Expat life is hectic and the family changes location regularly. There is rarely a French-speaking speech therapist available in the country of expatriation. Online speech therapy offers the possibility of obtaining a quick assessment for a possible diagnosis and allows for regular follow-up regardless of where the family lives.

Enhanced autonomy

Patients observed in telecare sessions show a certain degree of autonomy. Some of them sit at their desk and connect to the platform on their own, organize their workspace, prepare their materials (slate, paper, pencil), and then work on oral instructions only.

The appeal of the tools

The computer-based tool appeals to pre-adolescents and adolescents in particular. They master it and take pleasure in discovering a fun new re-education material. The speech therapist can share the material and the patient can repeat the exercises at home.

Visual aid for written and oral language

The computer-based tool offers visual aid for children in written language, by performing syllabification directly on the text (segmentation), or by changing the colors of the wording for example. Pictograms can also be easily used on-line (quick search, zoom…).

Parental support

The involvement of the patient’s entourage has sometimes an increase possibility in telecare. The speech therapist enters the patient’s living environment, and the caregiver (parent or relative) is requisitely within the child’s/patient’s reach. The caregiver sees what he/she may not have seen during the session until now, becomes more of a partner in the re-education, and he/she, along with the speech therapist, can then adapt the treatment in a more ecological way. The parent will be able to use the speech therapy tools such as pictograms or signs, to take up the concepts worked on and transfer them into their everyday life.

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