Telepractice and the NDIS: a conduit, not a quickfix.

Edward Johnson1

1University Of Sydney, , Australia


Background:This paper describes an individualised telepractice speech pathology intervention conducted with a subject living in an outer regional area with limited access to allied health.

Methods:An individualised therapy program was devised in collaboration with the subject circle of support and is presented through a mixed-methods case study with an A-B experimental design. The program was based on goals developed by the subject’s parents and teacher, in keeping with principles of family-centred practice. A face-to-face visit was conducted by the therapist, then 8 telepractice consultations, and another face-to-face visit to conclude the intervention. Therapeutic outcomes were measured using Goal Attainment Scale goals and the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure. Therapist/parents/teacher completed therapeutic alliance questionnaires after 3 consultations, and after the final consultation. Therapist/parents/teacher were interviewed regarding their impressions of the process following the completion of the intervention, and qualitative findings were reported.

Results:The results showed effective therapeutic outcomes, as well as effective therapeutic alliances between parents, teacher, and therapist.

Discussion:This case demonstrates that it’s possible to access specialist disability services through telepractice. It showcases the diversity of telepractice beyond 1:1 videoconferencing, but asserts that it is a “conduit”, not a “quickfix” – we encounter similar barriers in telepractice as we do in face-to-face practice. It presents telepractice as a medium through which therapists could support people with disability who have previously been unable to access timely, person-centred supports, in order to exercise choice and control in their lives.


Ed is a speech pathologist from Blayney in NSW. His career in professional cricket never eventuated due to a lack of talent, so he decided on allied health instead. Ed is a SARRAH Board Member and a PhD candidate investigating NDIS allied health services in rural and remote Australia.

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