The telepractice information in this document is intended to support professionals in making informed, well-reasoned decisions around remote assessment. This information is not intended to be comprehensive regarding all considerations for assessment via telepractice. It should not be interpreted as a requirement or recommendation to conduct assessment via telepractice.
Professionals should remain mindful to:
- Follow their own professional best practice recommendations and respective ethical codes
- Follow telepractice regulations and legal requirements from federal, state and local authorities, licensing boards, professional liability insurance providers, and payors
- Develop competence with assessment via telepractice through activities such as practicing, studying, consulting with other professionals, and engaging in professional development.
Professionals should use their clinical judgment to determine if assessment via telepractice is appropriate for a particular examinee, referral question, and situation. There are circumstances where assessment via telepractice is not feasible and/or is contraindicated. Documentation of all considerations, procedures, and conclusions remains a professional responsibility.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has provided guidance on telepractice via the ASHA Practice Portal to assist speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and other qualified professionals in decision making and ethical and legal practice issues. In addition, the InterOrganizational Practice Committee (2020) and psychology-related organizations offer further guidance, particularly during physical distancing requirements.
The Western Aphasia Battery—Revised (WAB-R; Kertesz, 2007) can be administered in a telepractice context by using digital tools from Q-global®, Pearson’s secure online-testing and scoring platform. Specifically, Q-global digital assets (e.g., stimulus books) can be shown to the examinee in another location via the screen-sharing features of teleconference platforms. Details regarding Q-global and how it is used are provided on the Q-global product page.
Administering the WAB-R via telepractice is possible; however, it is important to consider the fact that the normative data were collected via face-to-face assessment. Telepractice is a deviation from the standardized administration, and the methods and approaches to administering it via telepractice should be supported by research and practice guidelines when appropriate.
Providers engaging in telepractice assessment may train facilitators to work with them on a regular basis. If such a facilitator is well trained and in a professional role (i.e., a trained facilitator), they can present manipulatives and materials as well as adjust audiovisual equipment. This approach yields the WAB-R composite scores that are available in face-to face assessment mode. If a trained facilitator is not used, it may impact the workflow of the session, subtest selection, and the approach to deriving composite scores.
Untrained facilitators (i.e., family members or caregivers) typically do not remain in the room with the examinee throughout a testing session. The examiner should plan to minimize (as much as possible) the need for the untrained facilitator to remain in the room, once the administration has commenced. In cases when the untrained facilitator must remain in the room, this individual should monitor and address the examinee’s practical needs, as well as any technological or administrative issues as necessary. In any case, a facilitator’s role should be defined clearly by the examiner. The facilitator should only perform those functions the examiner approves and deems necessary. These functions should all be discussed and confirmed in an initial virtual meeting, prior to the assessment, where technology and process can be reviewed.