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Am J Speech Lang Pathol ; 30(2): 503-516, 2021 03 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1545665

ABSTRACT

Purpose COVID-19 has shifted models of health care delivery, requiring the rapid adoption of telehealth, despite limited evidence and few resources to guide speech-language pathologists. Management of dysarthria presents specific challenges in the telehealth modality. Evaluations of dysarthria typically rely heavily on perceptual judgments, which are difficult to obtain via telehealth given a variety of technological factors such as inconsistencies in mouth-to-microphone distance, changes to acoustic properties based on device settings, and possible interruptions in connection that may cause video freezing. These factors limit the validity, reliability, and clinicians' certainty of perceptual speech ratings via telehealth. Thus, objective measures to supplement the assessment of dysarthria are essential. Method This tutorial outlines how to obtain objective measures in real time and from recordings of motor speech evaluations to support traditional perceptual ratings in telehealth evaluations of dysarthria. Objective measures include pause patterns, utterance length, speech rate, diadochokinetic rates, and overall speech severity. We demonstrate, through clinical case vignettes, how these measures were completed following three clinical telehealth evaluations of dysarthria conducted via Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic. This tutorial describes how each of these objective measures were utilized, in combination with subjective perceptual analysis, to determine deviant speech characteristics and their etiology, develop a patient-specific treatment plan, and track change over time. Conclusion Utilizing objective measures as an adjunct to perceptual ratings for telehealth dysarthria evaluations is feasible under real-world pandemic conditions and can be used to enhance the quality and utility of these evaluations.


Subject(s)
Dysarthria/therapy , Speech-Language Pathology/methods , Telemedicine/methods , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Speech Intelligibility , Telemedicine/standards
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