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Online Speech and Language Therapy Assessments During Lockdown

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Sadia Hussain, Somek’s Speech and Language Therapy Expert and Associate Trainer, has just had the following article published in the Summer 2020 issue of Expert Witness Journal, titled: ‘Online Speech and Language Therapy Assessments During Lockdown.’

Just before the lockdown in March, I was instructed to undertake an assessment for a claimant living in the north of England, but with travel restrictions in place this became almost impossible. The only possible solution was to modify my clinical practice and follow the ‘online’ trend that was sweeping the nation. 

With experience of running online clinics for patients living in different countries, I was confident that using video conferencing and online platforms was a method I could adopt successfully in my medico-legal work. I have found that the outcomes have been positive. In fact, the outcomes have been better than I had expected, and I continue to use online methods as my main avenue of assessments during these sensitive times whilst the Covid-19 pandemic continues. Nevertheless, I understood that this was a new way of working for experts and some solicitors had raised valid questions and concerns, including:

• Will the findings of the expert assessment be compromised by video conferencing and online methods?

• Are the outcomes of online assessments reliable?

• Will the claimants have, and be able to use, the technology required for assessments?

• How will the claimant’s respond to online assessments?

At Somek, as experts we came together to discuss ways to overcome these issues and find solutions to ensure expert assessments could continue with the same level of quality assurances. I would like to share my experience and top tips, which have helped me engage claimants, manage technology barriers, and ensure a smooth assessment with reliable findings to form a valid expert opinion.

To read Sadia's full journal article click here and turn to page 105.