UMass Provides Teleconferencing Therapy to Rural Children

As the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders continues to grow and the shortage of speech-language pathologists and related specialists gets more acute, particularly in rural areas, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) are using live, secure video teleconferencing over the Internet to provide remedial services and help more schools and families connect with professionals.

“The lack of trained specialists is a major obstacle when trying to provide services to individuals with disabilities. Rural areas are the hardest hit,” says Michelle Boisvert, a doctoral candidate in the speech language pathology concentration at UMass Amherst. With Professor Mary Andrianopoulos, she is now conducting a pilot and feasibility study, bringing speech and language services to a grade-school boy with an autism spectrum disorder by live video link between the UMass Amherst campus and his Sunderland classroom.

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