UMaine Communication Sciences and Disorders Students Participate in Telepractice Training Program

Posted June 25, 2013

University of Maine Communication Sciences and Disorders students are participating in one of the first nationwide speech therapy telepractice training programs. The technology and training allow students and practitioners to provide speech therapy services to underserved children and adults in rural areas. The program was developed by Associate Professor Judy Walker in conjunction with the Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast and requires that participants have access to a computer, webcam, and the internet. Only a few programs in the country offer speech therapy telepractice training at the college level. Taylor Rodgers, Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders student, was one of the students in the first class and as a result was able to provide speech therapy from Orono to a woman in southern Maine. She said of the program, "UMaine is one of the first programs to offer this kind of training at the graduate level and also allows students to implement that training and work directly with clients. Telepractice challenges clinicians to make their own materials that are tailored to the client. In my experience, this increases each client's motivation because therapy is tailored to their life and what is meaningful to them. Through telepractice, we can reach clients who may not have access to these services in their community due to their rural location. The ability of the technology to allow for more frequent therapy sessions helps clients progress significantly faster." For more information on the program, please see the Bangor Daily News article here.