Teleintervention: Strategies for effective sessions

By Kailie Asam MSDE, CED

Have you ever wondered if you could take your knowledge from in-person sessions and utilize it in a tele-intervention service delivery model? You can! However, there are a few differences to consider that will ensure a smooth and effective session for provider and family alike.

Teleintervention is a service delivery model that is widely utilized to connect families of children with hearing loss to early interventionists via two-way video conferencing. Through the use of teleintervention, parents and caregivers have proven to be more hands-on, leading to greater carryover of strategies into daily routines and therefore statistically significant language outcomes for their child with hearing loss.

When providing services over the internet, early interventionists must employ unique strategies to ensure a successful family session. Such strategies include assessing the home environment from a distance, using appropriate learning materials, considering and supporting family needs, and relying on parent report. In addition, early interventionists must use and coach specific functional strategies that allow for successful use of technology, such as assessing the auditory environment, lighting, and camera positioning. Employing these unique strategies allows for more effective sessions when utilizing the teleintervention service delivery model. Through the use of these strategies, sessions run more smoothly, the family-provider relationship is strengthened, families gain confidence integrating listening and spoken language techniques into their daily routines and activities, and ultimately, families become more empowered to improve their child’s listening and spoken language proficiency.

You can use these strategies for families that live far away. Through leading questions and active listening, learn about their home environment and gauge the family’s available materials for planning sessions without in-person observation. When you cannot tell if the child has learned to activate a cause-and-effect toy, rely on parent report, which helps the parent become an active observer of her child’s actions and builds trust in the parent-provider relationship. Further, through increased positive, auditory feedback, build the parents confidence when employing new listening and spoken language strategies during a session. These strategies become such a natural part of her interactions with her child that you observe the parent successfully using these strategies in subsequent sessions, ensuring that she is truly incorporating them into their daily routines.

For 10 teleintervention tips for effective sessions, download our free pdf on our early intervention resource page.

Kailie Asam holds a Master’s Degree in Deaf Education from the Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. She has certification from the Council on the Education of the Deaf (CED). Kailie is credentialed as an early intervention provider in the states of Missouri and Illinois.

6 replies
  1. Neva
    Neva says:

    I am retired Navy. I have been stationed oversees and while serving overseas I never once saw Teletheraphy offered as an option for Education. To be honest I never saw students in the Department of Defense Education System who were Deaf or Hard of Hearing because they are considered exceptional family members.
    Exceptional meaning they require services (albeit medical or otherwise) that are not readily available at the overseas military bases. That said, DHH students and their families are not given the same overseas tour of duty opportunities as other (for lack of a better term) “normal” families.

    I would like to advocate for the DHH community with the Department of Defense Education System to utilize teletherapy as part of their regime in order to allow these families the same opportunities. With technology being the way it is today, there is no reason why we should not be able to mainstream our DHH students in the military the same way that we do in the public schools stateside.

    This is just a beginning proposal that I am drafting in my mind. Upon graduation, I will begin the process and hope that I might succeed in this crusade!

  2. brandi
    brandi says:

    I have never seen tele-intervention be done before, yet I am curious if this way of intervention is a better option for some families, even if they are at a close proximity of the interventionist. I wonder if this type of virtual practice can be interchangeable with in-person sessions. For example if a child usually goes to a center to receive early intervention but his brother is sick and the parents can’t leave the house, can tele-intervention be a replacement for that session? Would there be a large difference in the intervention given between an in-person session and a virtual one?

    • kasam
      kasam says:

      Hi Brandi. Thanks for your thoughtful comment! There is research showing benefits of the teleintervention model in comparison to a typical in-home session, suggesting that it is a reliable platform regardless of the family’s distance from the facility. Here at CID, we do have the opportunity for in-person sessions when a teleintervention family comes in for audiology. The barrier to interchangeable sessions lies in the billing, since in-person and teleintervention sessions are often billed differently (depending on the state). However, we believe in maintaining a high quality of service regardless of delivery model, which is what led to the development of our 10 Strategies for Effective Teleintervention Sessions handout. The goal is to be realistic about how providing services is different when utilizing teleintervention, yet upholding high standards for the quality of services the family is receiving.

  3. Nurul Akmar
    Nurul Akmar says:

    It seems like tele-intervention is more common among early intervention providers these days. I wonder if such services are available for older children, too. A lot of the things that we do at school with children are not carried over to their home. It would be great if more parents can be serviced this way. Most of the time, parents do want to get involved in their children’s learning but they do not know how. Also, some parents are speakers of other languages and they feel incompetent to teach their children or help with their assignments/homework at home. Parents should be made aware that they can contribute to their children’s learning. Tele-intervention services would empower these parents and provide them with input on how to enrich their children’s language learning experience.

  4. Stella
    Stella says:

    I never thought about tele-communications as a means to ensure the parents are taking a more active role in their child’s care! But this makes a lot of sense- the idea that if the service provider is less physically available to take all the data, the parent will be relied on to report the behavior or problems and will be held more accountable for that information. This also means they will probably be more actively paying attention to these things on a daily basis leading to them probably having a more explicitly involved relationship with their child’s hearing loss and care. So interesting!

    • Yara
      Yara says:

      I completely agree with all of the benefits Stella mentioned about parent involvement through tele-intervention. In my experience, many of the parents of children with hearing loss tend to strongly rely on their children’s service provider due to feeling “alone” when it comes to how they can help their child’s language development as a parent. Using tele-intervention would also most likely increase their confidence as well as their involvement.


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