About Therapy Connect
Therapy Connect provides flexible, person-centred allied health supports via telepractice for people who experience disability or delay in development that affects their participation at home, in the community, in childcare, education or the workplace. Our services include speech and occupational therapy, psychology, dietetics and physiotherapy, all delivered online. The individuals we work with present with challenges in the areas of learning, behaviour, communication, social interaction, mobility and motor skills, performing daily tasks and nutrition.
Therapy Connect works with people across Australia and Asia who live in rural, regional and remote areas or experience difficulty accessing sufficient therapy support to meet their needs. This may be due to geographic location, large local waiting lists or a lack of local service providers. Therapy Connect links allied health clinicians to families and their support networks via telecommunications technology, such as web-based videoconferencing, an innovative approach that has proven successful in providing timely access to highly experienced allied health practitioners for people isolated from services.
Therapy Connect was founded in 2015 by two rural allied health practitioners, Sue Cameron, a speech pathologist from Western Victoria and Simone Dudley, an occupational therapist from South West NSW, who are passionate about rural practice and improving access to therapy supports for the rural, regional and remote people they so strongly identify with.
Sue and Simone recognised the potential for high quality telepractice for people living in rural and remote areas meaning more choice and control over accessing quality allied health services. Many people who previously could only access therapy supports monthly, are now able to access experienced practitioners for weekly sessions. Therapy Connect clients report their relief and excitement at feeling connected and engaged with regular therapy sessions.
As an early adopter of telepractice, Therapy Connect acknowledged the need to contribute to the body of evidence to support telepractice as an effective and acceptable service delivery method.
Therapy Connect partnered with the University of Sydney in a research project titled “Delivering quality allied health services to children with complex disabilities”. The research was published in the Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities and can be found here.
Through our work we have found that it is the regular and consistent access to experienced therapists that clients value the most. Clients like being able to set the time, location and frequency of sessions. We found that it wasn’t all about the technology or technology skills of the practitioner, rather how the technology was used to support the achievement of goals and that a blended approach of both skill building and coaching is essential to link therapeutic strategies into daily routines.
Telepractice uses videoconferencing technology to deliver therapy services over the internet wherever you may be; at home, school, work or in the community. It is also known as teletherapy, telepractice or telehealth.
Telepractice is just like face-to-face therapy but instead of sitting across the table from the therapist you will be viewing each other across the internet on your computer screens. All you need is a computer or tablet with a camera and microphone and an internet connection. If you don’t have the internet or your connection is too slow, we will try to find an internet facility in your community that you can use.
A support person needs to be present during the session just as they would in a clinic-based session. Sessions are similar in format to how they would be in a clinic. We may ask lots of questions, conduct assessments, perform tasks, share resources, review video footage.
Some resources may be mailed or emailed to you for your session or they may be provided by sharing information from the computer screen. You may be asked to gather up materials from your own collection of toys or household items.
There is evidence that clinical outcomes and client satisfaction with online therapy are equivalent to conventional face-to-face therapy.