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In-person vs. virtual therapy

Welcome to SpeakClear! I am currently operating this service as fully virtual, so I thought discussing the benefits of online speech therapy would be a great place to start this blog.

I can still remember, at the onset of the pandemic, barely touching on teletherapy – in-person services were the norm, and although virtual services were available, this was a minority of appointments and in-person was preferred. I also worked in a clinic setting with children, where parents feared that teletherapy was not as effective as in-person therapy services. It was definitely a learning curve for therapists and clients, but one that was not too difficult to adapt to, no matter the age of the client.

I've personally the same positive results for clients in-person and online. There are always limitations, of course, but let's discuss some of the benefits for each:

Benefits of teletherapy/online speech therapy

Location and time

A nice part of teletherapy is that it can more easily fit around your work or school schedule, without the addition of thinking about travel time. For individuals who complete their work later into the evening, it can be especially helpful to just switch to an online meeting room. This can also be helpful for managing the family schedule, for those individuals who have children. If distance has limited the number of options for you before, accessing teletherapy services could make this much easier for you.

It also doesn't hurt that, as the weather gets warmer and day trips can be planned, that your therapy doesn't have to completely stop!

Limited resources required

Linking to the above mention of no travel time, resources such as having access to car or other public transport service are diminished when using online services. All that is required is a phone or laptop and reliable internet service.

Decrease stigma and increased privacy

As you could be accessing these services from home, it does not require as much explanation to others if you would like to keep this more private. As well, the ease of access can help reduce the stigma around seeing a ‘therapist’ – it isn’t quite so dramatic, and with the addition of privacy from your own home, it is even easier.

More accessibility

For many individuals with temporary or chronic illnesses that limit their mobility, teletherapy can be a much easier option to still receive support. For example, although wheelchair accessibility has improved in many locations, it can still require extra considerations for people who will need to travel in a wheelchair, or require extra in-person support in order to move around.


Meeting virtually is easier if you are recovering from a cold, or if someone at home is sick but you are still feeling well enough to have an appointment. That means less missed therapy sessions.

Reduced wait time

Many aspects of paperwork and travel time are reduced with virtual therapy for the speech therapist involved. With many school and hospital services having longer waitlists, it can be relatively simple to access a therapist virtually.

Online speech therapy

Benefits of in-person therapy

Control of screen distractors

For many individuals, the screen is a major distractor. A benefit of being face-to-face for therapy sessions is that it removes this as a concern. For some individuals, this can be due to an underlying condition which makes distraction more easy or visual input more stimulating -which a screen can often provide. I have seen this benefit with adults and children.

Nonverbal language and socialization

It is much simpler to work on certain goals surrounding non-verbal language when in-person, as the medium of Zoom can often remove the need for better use of body language and scenarios in which moving around can be easier to continue while speaking in the same room. For children as well, it's easier for them to see how someone is sitting or standing. Group therapy in-person also has a lot of benefits for social communication.

Certain speech sound difficulties

I have found that people can be just as successful with virtual therapy in learning speech sound production. However, some individuals would benefit from tactile/physical cues to help their production. Motor speech difficulties can make speech sound changes even more difficult. However, many speech sounds can be targeted in similar ways without a physical cues so there can be a balance that is found.

What are your thoughts about the pros and cons?


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