Touchstone Discusses Telehealth During COVID-19
Touchstone ABA Online: Exploring Telehealth
COVID-19 has changed our lives in many ways – our jobs, routines, schedules, and our kids’ schedules. For a child receiving ABA services, it may also mean a disruption or reduction in ABA treatment hours. Fortunately, our behavior analysts are using technology to continue to provide some ABA services.
When behavior analysts provide services online, it’s called telehealth.
Telehealth, simply put, is receiving treatment through an audio-visual platform where the provider and the client or caregiver are in different locations but online together at the same time. It is not a separate service, just a different way of delivering the same services.
In this time of social distancing, telehealth has become a critical way to continue ABA treatment for many families.Telehealth has been around a long time and is used in many fields including medicine, psychiatry, speech pathology, and ABA.
Research has demonstrated that ABA telehealth is an effective way of receiving parent coaching and support, identifying the functions of challenging behaviors, increasing functional language for persons with autism, and conducting behavioral assessments.
For some time, Parent Educators at Touchstone ABA have been using telehealth to provide real-time coaching and support that accommodates our clients’ schedules. In our current crisis, we have increased staff availability to expand telehealth services and provide more opportunities for caregivers to receive coaching and support for challenges that may arise from the current situation we all find ourselves in.
The federal government has demonstrated sensitivity to the needs of persons receiving medical necessary treatment by relaxing the federal privacy rules for telehealth due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This allows providers and clients to use accessible platforms like Zoom, Facetime and phone calls for telehealth services.
While telehealth may not be able to completely replace all the ABA services that a child was receiving prior to the shelter in place mandate, it has been shown to be an effective way to receive and supplement ABA services which just may be the lifeline parents and caregivers need at this time for themselves and their loved ones.
Janice Huber, BCBA, LBA
Touchstone Parent Educator