Assessing children’s speech intelligibility and oral structures, and functions via an Internet-based telehealth system
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We examined the validity and reliability of an Internet-based telehealth system for screening speech intelligibility and oro-motor structure, and function in children with speech disorders. Twenty children aged 4-9 years were assessed by a clinician in the conventional, face-to-face (FTF) manner; simultaneously, they were assessed by a second clinician via the videoconferencing system using a 128-kbit/s Internet connection. Speech intelligibility in conversation was rated and an informal assessment of oro-motor structure and function was conducted. There was a high level of agreement between the online and FTF speech intelligibility ratings, with 70% exact agreement and 100% close agreement (within ᠰoint on a 5-point scale). The weighted kappa statistic revealed very good agreement between raters (kappa = 0.86). Data for online and FTF ratings of oro-motor function revealed overall exact agreement of 73%, close agreement of 96%, moderate or good strength of agreement for six variables (kappa = 0.48-0.74), and poor to fair agreement for six variables (kappa = 0.12-0.36). Intra- and inter-rater reliability measures (ICCs) were similar between the online and FTF assessments. Low levels of agreement for some oro-motor variables highlighted the subjectivity of this assessment. However, the overall results support the validity and reliability of Internet-based screening of speech intelligibility and oro-motor function in children with speech disorders.
Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare
Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified