Early Intervention via Tele-Intervention

hear ME now participated  in a multi-state study evaluating the benefits of Tele Intervention over 2014/2015 , and now we have results to share!

Tele Intervention (TI) has the potential to provide access to early, specialized services in Listening and Spoken Language to families in all parts of our rural state. Most previous studies of TI had shown family satisfaction and potential cost savings in implementing TI and this multi-state study involved a larger, more diverse sample of 48 children and 15 providers that included measure of outcome including auditory skill development and norm-reference measure of children’s language development.

Sites in the states of Oregon, Washington, Utah, Missouri and Maine contributed to the 6 month study. Early Intervention providers in Listening and Spoken Language were assigned families in dyads – one family receiving intervention in a traditional home based setting, and another through Tele Intervention.  Families were assigned to the TI group, or the in-person group after matching on child chronological age, degree of hearing loss, and other disabilities.  Random assignment was possible for about half of the subjects. Children were 19-20 months of age on average at the start of the pretest period.

Ultimately, the desired goal of early intervention is to promote communication grown in children while enabling families to partner with early intervention providers in nurturing the child’s development and ensuring that intervention fits with the family’s routines, values and needs.  At post-test, results reflected statistically significant differences in favor of the TI group compared with the in-person group in Expressive Communication, Receptive Communication and Total Language Scores on the Preschool Language Scale-5th Edition, and in Auditory Development on the Auditory Skills Checklist.

The Home Visit Rating Scales was used to measure the quality of interaction among the provider, the parent, and the child.  Ratings were provided by trained, reliable raters who were independent of the study’s authors.  Ratings reflected above average performance for both groups. Analysis of results showed that the TI group scored statistically significantly better in regard to the provider’s responsiveness to the parent, as well as stronger parent engagement with the child.

These results support the conclusion that tele-intervention is a valuable method for providing services to children who are DHH and their families. Families and children receiving services via TI had better language outcomes and auditory skills than children who received services through traditional in-person visits. Families receiving services via TI were more engaged in the intervention than in-person group families, and the providers were more responsive to the families when providing services via TI.

According to family self-report measures, families who received TI services feel equally supported, knowledgeable, and confident in fostering their child’s development as families who receive in-person services.
We are excited by these finding and look forward to further discussion with policy makers, providers and families on the value of incorporating Tele-Intervention into early intervention programs for children with hearing loss in Maine!

Read the full report here:  Final Multisite Oberkotter Report interactive