Challenges and Facilitators to Telehealth Occupational Therapy for Autistic Children During COVID-19

OTJR (Thorofare N J). 2023 Jan 3:15394492221142597. doi: 10.1177/15394492221142597. Online ahead of print.


Pre-pandemic, telehealth occupational therapy (OT) for autistic children appeared promising, but research was limited. The pandemic provided a unique opportunity to investigate how clinics transitioned to telehealth. The purpose of this study was to examine barriers and facilitators that influenced delivery of OT services through telehealth for autistic children during the pandemic. We conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews with 13 participants (three administrators, six OTs, and four parents of autistic children) at three Los Angeles area clinics over a 7-month period. We used narrative and thematic analysis to identify four themes. We identified (a) Challenges and (b) Facilitators to Conducting Telehealth OT, including practical strategies for successful facilitation, and (c) Negative and (d) Positive Outcomes of Conducting Telehealth OT. As telehealth will likely remain a viable means of OT service delivery in the future, our findings provide insight into ways that it can be improved and sustained.

PMID:36597578 | DOI:10.1177/15394492221142597

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