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Telemed J E Health. 2018 Jul 24. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2018.0049. [Epub ahead of print]

Literacy Assessment Via Telepractice Is Comparable to Face-to-Face Assessment in Children with Reading Difficulties Living in Rural Australia.

Author information

1
1 Child Development Unit, The Children's Hospital at Westmead , Westmead, Australia .
2
2 NSW Centre for Effective Reading, New South Wales Department of Education, Wagga Wagga, Australia .
3
3 CSIRO Data 61 , Eveleigh, Australia .
4
4 Faculty of Medicine, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia .

Abstract

Background/Introduction: Literacy difficulties have significant long-term impacts on individuals, and therefore early identification and intervention are critical. Access to experienced professionals who conduct standardized literacy assessments with children is limited in rural and remote areas. The emerging literature supports the feasibility of using telepractice to overcome barriers to accessing specialist literacy assessment. The current study sought to determine the feasibility and reliability of telepractice assessments, using consumer-grade technology, in children with reading difficulties.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Thirty-seven children, aged 8 to 12 years, with reading difficulties, attended a multidisciplinary reading clinic. Children completed literacy assessments delivered via a web-based application by a remotely located research assistant. A teacher was stationed with the child and coscored the assessments. Scores and qualitative observations of the two assessors were compared.

RESULTS:

Spearman's correlation analyses revealed strong agreement between telepractice- and face-to-face-rated scores (r = 0.79-0.99). Bland-Altman plots indicated excellent agreement between derived scores. Parents reported a high degree of comfort with the telepractice assessments. Clinicians reported the audio and video quality was sound in most cases.

DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS:

Web-based technology can enable remote delivery of literacy assessments. The technology has the potential to increase the availability of assessments to meet the needs of children who live remotely, in a timely manner and at their family's convenience.

KEYWORDS:

behavioral health; education; pediatrics; telehealth; telemedicine

PMID:
30040538
DOI:
10.1089/tmj.2018.0049

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