This pilot study compared tele-intervention to conventional intervention for children with hearing loss in terms of communication performance, parent perceptions and clinician perceptions. A within-participant design was employed, including 10 children with hearing loss and their parents who each received a structurally similar tele-intervention and conventional intervention session in a counterbalanced manner. Quality of communication performance was analysed using a modified Tait Video Analysis method. Parent- and clinician perceptions were collected through rating-scale surveys and thematic analysis of qualitative responses. No significant difference (p>0.05) was found between tele-intervention and conventional intervention in terms of communication performance of children. Parent perceptions were not significantly different (p>0.05) between conventional and tele-intervention in terms of facilitating meaningful communication interaction. Even though tele-intervention and conventional intervention received high ratings by parents, a preference towards conventional intervention was evident in terms of parents comfort level during the session, whether they found it to be a beneficial experience and whether they would like to continue receiving intervention through this method. Clinician perceptions of conventional and tele-intervention were not significantly different (p>0.05) as both methods received similar high scores. This study provides preliminary evidence that, even with its technical challenges and unfamiliarity, tele-intervention is effective for communication intervention and can be a valuable solution to typical barriers such as distance and the shortage of trained interventionists. Outcomes of the current study, along with the growing body of research in the field of tele-intervention, suggests that this method of service-delivery offers an alternative to conventional in-person methods. Tele-intervention could be a valuable option of service delivery especially for, but not limited to, families of children with hearing loss who reside great distances from specialized services required.
Dissertation (MCommunication Pathology)--University of Pretoria, 2016.