ASHA members who are based in the schools are likely to work with children diagnosed with autism. As school-based clinicians continue to explore their telepractice options after returning to in-person school, these five articles from Guest Editor Hedda Meadan-Kaplansky can help. Even better, in recognition of Autism Acceptance Month, this Special Interest Group 1 (Language Learning and Education) forum from Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups is free throughout the end of April!

Benefits and Challenges

The forum opens with an article by Douglas and colleagues offering five tips for online intervention for children with autism and their families. The authors pointed out that although telepractice allows myriad benefits, such as expanding services for families in more remote or rural areas, telepractice requires skills, technologies, and family participation.

Next, an article by Shire et al. explored the development and testing of a new web-based intervention based on an evidence-based, in-person intervention developed previously. The authors emphasize that developing online versions of established tools can conserve resources while increasing access to specialized services.

Later, Biggs and colleagues examined how SLPs served children who have been using aided augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors presented the advice and strategies that they found in the survey responses in three distinct areas: (1) providing service strategically, (2) communicating and collaborating, and (3) continuing to learn while keeping expectations reasonable.

Caregiver-Led Intervention

Two articles in this forum focused on online training for caregivers of children with autism. Caregiver-led intervention can promote children’s social communication skills and improve caregiver self-efficacy.

An article by Neely et al. found that caregivers could be coached on intervention online, resulting in an increased sense of confidence. One important consideration that the authors discovered was that caregivers sometimes had difficulty scheduling training sessions into their day.

Lee et al. conducted a literature review on a similar topic, looking into the coaching of caregivers to collect assessment data and help implement interventions via telepractice. The authors concluded that telepractice can serve as a supplement while delivering other evidence-based interventions.

Thinking Beyond Zoom

The articles in this forum can help SLPs explore new ideas—or refine their existing service delivery model. We’d like to thank Dr. Meadan-Kaplansky for her work bringing this forum together. You can read the entire forum here, or explore the individual articles below.

Loved this forum and want to read more from Perspectives? Consider joining an ASHA Special Interest Group (SIG)! Perspectives’ archive of clinical articles, plus more than 150 new articles a year, is available as a member benefit of SIG affiliation.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out this year’s coverage of Autism Acceptance Month, where we review some of the latest offerings from across the ASHA Journals. The ASHA Journals have published a number of articles and forums about autism in the past few years; you can check them out on our topic page.

Explore the Forum

Biggs, E. E., Therrien, M. C. S., Snodgrass, M. R., & Douglas, S. N. (2022). Voices from the field: Strategies for effective telepractice for children with autism who use augmentative and alternative communication. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 7(2), 324–337.

Douglas, S. N., Dunkel-Jackson, S. M., Bagawan, A., & Sun, T. (2022). Five tips for implementing telepractice interventions with family members of young children with autism spectrum disorder. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 7(2), 284–294.

Lee, J. D., Yoon, C. D., & Meadan, H. (2022). Coaching caregivers of young children with autism via telepractice to collect assessment data and implement interventions. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 7(2), 338–346.

Neely, L. C., Carnett, A., Hansen, S., Courtney, M., & Cantrell, K. (2022). Iterative development of caregiver-implemented behavioral intervention via telehealth: A focus on feasibility. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 7(2), 295–309.

Shire, S. Y., Arbuckle, S., & Bao, W. (2022). Development and usability testing of a web-based adaptation of the joint attention, symbolic play, engagement, and regulation social communication intervention. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 7(2), 310–323. 10.1044/2021_PERSP-21-00222