UMaine Telepractice team presents at 2018 ASHA Convention

The UMaine Speech Therapy Telepractice team will present two aspects of the telepractice program at the 2018 ASHA Convention in Boston: Cultural Connections in a Virtual World: Graduate Students Provide TelepracticeServices in Fiji and Caring for Caregivers of People with Aphasia in a TelepracticeSupport Group.

The University of Maine, Speech Therapy Telepractice Training Program provides speech therapy telepractice services to children with speech and language deficits at the International School Suva, Fiji (ISS).  This partnership fosters international engagement and multiculturalism into our graduate clinical program while filling a need for speech therapy services in Fiji.  This presentation will describe the telepractice technology and clinical procedures used along with the challenges and benefits of this program.

The UMaine telepractice team will also present the preliminary findings from their most recent research. During the spring of 2018, the team conducted a study that investigated whether caregivers of people with aphasia (PWA) benefitted from participation in a telepractice group that addressed shared experiences, communication strategies, community, and educational resources.  Five caregivers met for 12 weeks via telepractice. Pre-post survey ratings indicated that the caregivers’ perceptions of functional communication between them and the PWA declined, whereas their perceptions of caregiver burden and loneliness increased. These results suggest that participation in the group was detrimental to the caregivers, yet the group unanimously stated participation was beneficial and wanted to continue at the end of the study.