As we start the new year, a big question is on our collective minds: What speech, language, and cognitive therapy trends will emerge in 2023?
If you’re in the speech, language, and cognitive therapy industry, we don’t need to tell you how quickly things have changed and grown over the past few years. Research has shown that there is an increasing prevalence of speech, language, and cognitive disorders in the U.S which has generated a growing demand for effective therapy. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to see a rise in many health providers shifting their services online as telehealth becomes a more efficient option for many people.
Constant Therapy is doing its part to make healthcare more accessible and convenient for those who need it by filling the gap that may be hindering patients from seeking care. Looking to 2023, we are excited about the developing landscape of the speech, language, and cognitive therapy industry. We asked several experts two questions that pertain to speech, language, and cognitive therapy trends in 2023 and beyond:
>> Response from: Suzy Carbrey | Speech-language Pathologist
“I see speech-language pathologists working more with neurodivergent adults who want a brain based approach to improve their communication and executive functioning skills. We are able to help those with conditions such ADHD or autism see their strengths and find person centered strategies to support their challenges. We have historically been called in to help adults who have had a recent brain injury or illness and are now being called in to help a more broad demographic of adults. Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not view this work, speech-language pathology with adults for neurodevelopmental issues, as medically necessary and it is an out of pocket investment.”
Suzy Carbrey works with busy and disorganized adults to improve their communication and executive functioning skills that affect their productivity and goal completion. She is a licensed speech language pathologist and owner of Cognitive Communication Solutions.
>> Response from: Jordyn Pierce | MS, CCC-SLP, ATP
“My hope is that we will continue to see technology like augmentative and alternative communication programs, assistive technology tools, and therapy supports like Constant Therapy grow in depth and breadth. As we see more and more challenges face patients and providers alike, and with our healthcare system struggling to meet the need, we must harness technology to help us treat patients effectively and efficiently, and retain and support our providers.”
Jordyn Pierce is the Vice President of Clinical Operations and Development for Constant Therapy and runs a private practice in Western Massachusetts. She provides speech, language, and cognitive therapy and associated consulting services for patients across the lifespan.
>> Response from: Dr. Tabia Pope | Ph.D., CCC-SLP
“Teletherapy services for the athletic population can help SLPs market their services to an underserved population. My nonprofit organization, Head to Speech, Incorporated adopted this approach for the ability to reach more athletes. We want all athletes to benefit regardless of their financial worries or transportation difficulties. This improved access enables us to help more athletes. I teach private practice owners how to widen their potential consumer base through community outreach, which can help them raise more awareness of sliding scales. I also encourage them to partner with universities and nonprofits within their community to donate the proceeds of Teletherapy services to athletes, and earn more money across the board.
Teletherapy offers greater access to care. It can help athletes easily access formal speech, language, hearing, and cognitive-communication rehabilitation when they need to work around athletic and academic schedules. Athletes and their families are already juggling between traveling to and from school, work, practice and games. It’s more convenient than traveling to in-person therapy.
Utilizing a combination of community outreach, teletherapy and technology, such as the Constant Therapy App can help reduce or prevent cognitive decline. It is time to connect athletes to databases of highly skilled therapists in sports concussion management, in addition to using apps that offer therapy within the app using evidence-based therapeutic activities.”
Dr. Tabia Pope holds a Ph.D., M.S., and B.S., from Howard University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is the President & CEO of Head to Speech, Incorporated, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to sports concussion and the effects on cognitive-communication skills. She is also a Clinical Instructor of Speech-Language Pathology at the University of the District of Columbia where she teaches and supervises students while using teletherapy with pediatric and adult clients. Her research interests include traumatic brain injury, with an emphasis in academic sports concussion management, health communications, interprofessional education and collaboration, and overall brain health coaching.
>> Response from: Jordyn Pierce | MS, CCC-SLP, ATP
“While there are many things that an in-person connection cannot replace, teletherapy combats many of the challenges that patients face when they seek care. Teletherapy makes therapists more easily available to patients by breaking down geographic barriers and makes therapists more efficient so it opens up more of their time.
The question of reimbursement for teletherapy will be an important one for us to watch in the coming years – many commercial insurance providers have determined that they will continue to approve speech therapy services provided via teletherapy for the foreseeable future – but that is not necessarily the case for all insurances indefinitely, particularly Medicare.
Finally, teletherapy has an important role to play in supporting provider needs as well. It gives providers more flexibility in terms of when and where they can work, and can decrease job stressors like commute time. In a world with increasing pressures and challenges within healthcare and daily life, we need to support our providers so we can retain them to avoid further shortages of speech-language pathologists.”
As a company working to enhance equity in and access to speech, language, and cognitive therapy, we at Constant Therapy are always excited to hear from clinicians in the field to make sure that we are best meeting patient and clinician needs. A common theme from this round of feedback from field experts, is that teletherapy and technology increases access to care for patients dealing with speech, language, and cognitive disorders as well as maintain their progress. Both patients and providers are able to gain more flexibility with their time and overcome various barriers that cognitive decline. Resources like Constant Therapy help to alleviate these concerns and place the focus back on the recovery and rehabilitation of the patient. In 2023 and beyond, the speech, language, and cognitive therapy industry needs to further the accessibility and effectiveness of its resources in order to stay cognizant of the ever-changing needs of patients.
Your turn! We’d love to hear what trends you think will drive the speech therapy world in 2023. Tell us below in the comments.