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Semin Speech Lang. 2012 Aug;33(3):243-57. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1320044. Epub 2012 Jul 31.

Telerehabilitation, virtual therapists, and acquired neurologic speech and language disorders.

Author information

1
Center for Aphasia Research and Treatment, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, IL 60611, USA. Lcherney@ric.org

Abstract

Telerehabilitation (telerehab) offers cost-effective services that potentially can improve access to care for those with acquired neurologic communication disorders. However, regulatory issues including licensure, reimbursement, and threats to privacy and confidentiality hinder the routine implementation of telerehab services into the clinical setting. Despite these barriers, rapid technological advances and a growing body of research regarding the use of telerehab applications support its use. This article reviews the evidence related to acquired neurologic speech and language disorders in adults, focusing on studies that have been published since 2000. Research studies have used telerehab systems to assess and treat disorders including dysarthria, apraxia of speech, aphasia, and mild Alzheimer disease. They show that telerehab is a valid and reliable vehicle for delivering speech and language services. The studies represent a progression of technological advances in computing, Internet, and mobile technologies. They range on a continuum from working synchronously (in real-time) with a speech-language pathologist to working asynchronously (offline) with a stand-in virtual therapist. One such system that uses a virtual therapist for the treatment of aphasia, the Web-ORLA™ (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL) system, is described in detail. Future directions for the advancement of telerehab for clinical practice are discussed.

PMID:
22851346
PMCID:
PMC3691350
DOI:
10.1055/s-0032-1320044
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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