ASHA journals
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Transitioning to virtual assessment (Werfel et al., 2021)

journal contribution
posted on 2021-06-21, 23:42 authored by Krystal L. Werfel, Brittany Grey, Michelle Johnson, Marren Brooks, Ellie Cooper, Gabriella Reynolds, Elizabeth Deutchki, Morgan Vachio, Emily A. Lund
Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a quick shift to virtual speech-language services; however, only a small percentage of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) had previously engaged in telepractice. The purpose of this clinical tutorial is (a) to describe how the Early Language and Literacy Acquisition in Children with Hearing Loss study, a longitudinal study involving speech-language assessment with children with and without hearing loss, transitioned from in-person to virtual assessment and (b) to provide tips for optimizing virtual assessment procedures.
Method: We provide an overview of our decision making during the transition to virtual assessment. Additionally, we report on a pilot study that calculated test–retest reliability from in-person to virtual assessment for a subset of our preschool-age participants.
Results: Our pilot study revealed that most speech-language measures had high or adequate test–retest reliability when administered in a virtual environment. When low reliability occurred, generally the measures were timed.
Conclusions: Speech-language assessment can be conducted successfully in a virtual environment for preschool children with hearing loss. We provide suggestions for clinicians to consider when preparing for virtual assessment sessions.

Supplemental Material S1. Access to internet and technology survey.

Supplemental Material S2. ELLA study: Checklist for parents.

Supplemental Material S3. ELLA study: Engagement reminders.

Supplemental Material S4. Virtual testing: How to navigate Zoom.

Supplemental Material S5. Virtual testing: Controlling sound levels.

Supplemental Material S6. Virtual testing: Tips for parents.

Supplemental Material S7. Virtual testing: Tips for virtual test administration.

Werfel, K. L., Grey, B., Johnson, M., Brooks, M., Cooper, E., Reynolds, G., Deutchki, E., Vachio, M., & Lund, E. A. (2021). Transitioning speech-language assessment to a virtual environment: Lessons learned from the ELLA study. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. Advance online publication.


The study reported herein was funded by Grant R01DC017173 from National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to Krystal L. Werfel and Emily A. Lund.