The purpose of the current study was to explore provider perspectives on the strengths and challenges of telehealth services (e.g., behavioral interventions, physical, speech, and occupational therapy, medication management) for children with ASD during COVID-19 related shutdowns.
From September 2020 to May 2021, we conducted qualitative interviews with 35 providers across multiple disciplines from 17 sites in the Autism Care Network. Qualitative data was analyzed using a framework approach and common themes were identified.
Providers across clinical disciplines identified strengths of the virtual model, such as its flexibility and the opportunity it provided to see children in their home environment. They also indicated that some interventions worked better virtually than others, and that there were several factors that impacted their success. Respondents were generally satisfied providing parent-mediated interventions but expressed mixed satisfaction in using telehealth for direct-to-patient care.
Results suggest that telehealth services for children with ASD could be a helpful tool in decreasing barriers and improving service delivery, especially when tailored to the individual needs of the patient. More research is needed on the factors contributing to its success in order to eventually inform clinical guidelines regarding the prioritization of children seen for in-person visits.

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