teletherapy for schools

Teletherapy: Will You Take the Next Step or Be Left Behind?

As we all know, in the digital age, things change rapidly, and not always for the better.  So much of the technological innovation seems to be nothing more than a poor digital replacement for long lost quality. So, while for online schools, teletherapy would look to be a no-brainer, why should brick and mortar schools replace their onsite therapists?

For starters, teletherapy blends the most excellent quality in speech-language therapy with the many benefits that digital innovations afford.  Aside from the many advantages to SLPs, it offers much for schools as well. Perhaps most important of all, study after study has shown its effectiveness.

Nevertheless, as an administrator with the responsibility for making decisions that will impact the entire school or even district, you are undoubtedly interested in getting concrete. Below are three of the most sought-after benefits that teletherapy offers.

1. Teletherapy eliminates the need to travel

It may sound trite, but teletherapy is just a click away.  After the basic setup of verifying your Internet connection and a few technical details, you are good to go. No reason to worry about the therapist not showing up or being late, therapy can be provided from the comfort of the therapist’s home.

For parents, it is a dream come true. No need to bring along the other children to the session or find a babysitter. Students can receive teletherapy during school hours or at home. Saving on travel for both the therapist and student allows both to be more awake and engaged during the session, an important factor in enhancing therapeutic outcomes.

2. Teletherapy brings down the bottom line

It would be difficult to match the savings teletherapy affords to brick and mortar schools. First of all, the elimination of therapist related travel expenses are a tremendous savings all by itself.  But there is another, and perhaps, more important reason that it will save you money. It can be summed up in one word: recruitment.

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National statistics consistently show that there is a growing therapist shortage around the country. As you already know, recruiting and hiring high-quality therapists is becoming more and more cost prohibitive. By working with an online therapy agency, this entire line item on the budget ceases to exist.  Think about that, top quality therapists when you want them for no extra cost!

3. Teletherapy allows for unprecedented session review

Just imagine if your hard-working students could replay that last speech-language session over and over again until they got it just right.  In face-to-face therapy, aside from the technical challenges involved, “taping” the session could make the child anxious and consequently negatively impact performance.

However, with teletherapy, every session is being recorded without the child even being aware. Recording sessions can prove to be an invaluable resource over the course of the year. Also, a parent can monitor sessions to see how both their child and the therapist are performing.

4. Join the teletherapy revolution

So why are you waiting? Day by day, more and more schools are turning to teletherapy to offer their students top-notch therapy with all of the benefits that technology has to offer.

Isn’t it time that you did the same?

Schedule your free demo today.

Got SLP Challenges? Get Teletherapy Solutions!

Being an SLP is an excellent way to help others while earning a very comfortable income. However, being an SLP has its share of challenges, in particular for those clinicians working for the public schools and early intervention services.
As a matter of fact, the rate of SLPs burning out is on the rise, unfortunately, due to many factors entirely out of their control. Despite this, many excellent, devoted therapists continue to work their magic day in and day out.  Why? Because being an SLP in general is absolutely fantastic.
So for all of you devoted therapists and for those of you benefiting from their critical services, to fully appreciate these unsung heroes, it is essential to understand some of their most significant challenges and how teletherapy can provide solutions.

1. High caseloads- Teletherapy to the rescue

Unfortunately, many SLPs, especially those working in public schools are handling unbearable caseloads, way beyond what they can handle. In some cases, this can be 80-100 students. The negative impact of these high caseloads impacts SLPs, students and administrators alike.
The advent of teletherapy has done much to alleviate this chronic problem.  The option of finding high-quality therapists outside the district who can service these needy students via teletherapy has been improved the lives of many students, administrators, and therapists.

2. Lack of materials

Many public schools are notorious for inadequately providing SLPs sufficient materials and resources for their students. This makes an SLPs job particularly challenging, especially in light for the heavy caseloads.  No time nor budget to purchase supplemental games and exercises means slower progress for students and greater frustration for therapists.
But with teletherapy, this can change dramatically, almost instantly.  The plethora of materials continues to expand by the month. Combining creativity and technology has proven to be a potent combination, and often at a reasonable cost, which encourages schools to invest.

3. Unqualified Therapists

Due to the considerable budget challenges facing many districts, schools are sometimes forced to position unqualified personnel as speech-language therapists.  This is obviously to the students’ deficit. And sometimes the experience is even worse than wasting time, as it can become an impediment to future therapy.
The answer, of course, is teletherapy.  Similar to solving the problem of overburdening SLPs with caseloads, here again, the expanding pool of qualified therapists unconstrained by geography removes the necessity and excuse for school districts to assign therapy to anyone but qualified, licensed speech therapists.

4. Scheduling

Scheduling can be a real hassle for everyone involved. Excellent therapists only have so much time during the school day and often due to other necessities in their lives are unable to remain in the school until all hours in the evening.  When the therapist and the kids live in the same place, they are constrained by the time zone.
But just imagine that a therapist who lives in California is working with a child in New York. That 3-hour difference opens up new possibilities for scheduling that never existed before.  What’s more, with so many more therapists to choose from, teletherapy provides to option of using many therapists at the same time in the same school.
teletherapy homework

Will Teletherapy Homework Always Be A Bummer?

Everyone understands the myriad of benefits of doing teletherapy exercises at home. Simply put, the more your child practices, the quicker the improvement. But as those who have become veterans of teletherapy know all too well, it doesn’t always work out that way.

A couple of days away from that terrific teletherapy session, and where has all the enthusiasm gone?  Don’t let this temporary setback throw you for a loop. Do you or a loved one find yourself going home from the speech therapist’s office with the best of intentions only to lose enthusiasm after a day or two?

Don’t get discouraged! Homework can be a success if you know what to do.

1) Schedule a time for teletherapy homework

First of all, you know as well as me that anything that is important must be recorded on the calendar like any other meeting or appointment. Think carefully and then schedule a time when you can be sure that you have the requisite time, energy and focus. Selecting a slot around the same time every day will increase your odds of success. Consistency is key!

2) Make a homework plan

Usually your SLP will assign specific exercises which makes things pretty simple.  But if the nature of the teletherapy homework has been left up to you, the following structure may be helpful.  “Sandwich” the most challenging part of the homework between an easy entree to help your kid warm up, and an easy finish which will leave your child feeling successful and confident.

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3) Pick a good spot for the homework

Remember that you want your child to be comfortable, but not too comfortable to do his/her homework. You want your kid to be relaxed to enhance focus, but avoid too much of a good thing. Perhaps working at the kitchen table or at the bedroom desk is that happy medium. There are no hard and fast rules so experiment with what “level of comfort” will maximize results.

4) Minimize distractions during the homework

In our world inundated with sounds of technology, you will need to eliminate background noise to the best of your ability if you want your child to be able to focus. That means turning off the television and radio, silencing alerts on the computer, and switching the setting on your phone to vibrate. Ask the other children to play elsewhere and try some soft background music.

5) Watch out for frustrations from doing homework

Both parent and child frustration have the potential to kill the homework very quickly.  Perhaps your child isn’t “getting it” fast enough for you. Stop, take a deep breath and calm down. Or maybe your child keeps getting stuck on the same sound.  Time to take a break? Someone may be too tired for this work! It is better to bail out early than to keep pushing if it just isn’t going.

6) Reward the effort invested in the homework

While it is essential to set goals, it is more important to reward effort than accomplishment.  Aside from being a strategy to minimize frustration, paying the effort reinforces that trying is paramount.  After all, what is the greatest guarantee that the child will succeed, but to keep working even when he/she experiences repeated failure?

teletherapy

Teletherapy SLP: Are You Afraid Of An Advocate?

As an experienced SLP performing teletherapy, have you ever been met by those words, ”They have an advocate”?  And what happens when you do? I know. Your heart starts pounding. Immediately you are struck with those uncomfortable questions, “do this kid’s parents trust me?”  “Don’t they assume that I am only interested in what is best for the child?”

 

Your imagination goes right to work as the insecurities begin flying through your head. This “advocate” is going to be a problem going by demanding of me things that I won’t be able to deliver. ‘What about my goals and methods?”  The independence that I cherish so profoundly is about to fly right out the window!

 

What Does A Teletherapy Advocate Do?

First of all, take a deep breath and find out precisely what a teletherapy advocate does. Simply put, a teletherapy advocate helps the child’s parents to understand the IEP process and associated paperwork better.  Also, a teletherapy advocate coaches parents as to how to best advocate for their child including how to best work with the school team.

 

Why Hire an Advocate?

So the obvious question is why would parents solicit the services on advocate in the first place?  After all, why don’t the parents deal with the team directly? When everything is going as it supposed to, hiring an advocate certainly isn’t warranted.  However, when the parents are either confused or disagree with the IEP, goals or related services, it may be time to reach for help.

 

Another reason is that sometimes the parents may be overly stressed by other factors in their lives leaving them either too emotionally drained or exhausted to interact with the team on their own. Under such circumstances, the best solution may be to invite someone more experienced with a “cooler head.”

 

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In some cases, the parents may feel that the school isn’t sensitive to their concerns and thereby causing the child to suffer needlessly.  An experienced advocate with knowledge of teletherapy, the inner dynamics of the bureaucracy, and the advantage of being less emotionally involved can and has worked wonders.

 

Will An Advocate Attend An IEP Meeting?

There are times that parents will hire an advocate to attend an IEP Meeting for any number of reasons.  It could be for critical clarifications as the parents are generally not familiar with either the processes or the jargon related to the therapeutic process.  Or the advocate may be there to provide emotional support, to “hold the parents’ hands” so to speak.

 

Will The Advocate Question The SLP’s Goals?

Generally speaking, a teletherapy advocate is not there to challenge the expertise of the SLP, but instead to clarify matters that are of specific concern to the parents. This is all with the express intent of either better understanding the process or improving recommendations.

 

Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

The objective and function of the advocate is to work together with the assigned SLP and the school, not against them.  This is not a fight or even a contest but a more productive way of collaborating for the child’s best interests. So there is no reason to fear the advocate.  In fact, when the advocate’s role is understood correctly, it is a win, win, win!