The year has just barely begun, and already you find yourself looking for another teletherapy clinician. Perhaps someone you hired over the summer just isn’t working out, or maybe that commitment you thought you had didn’t pan out. Regardless of the reason, you need a new therapist, and you need her now!
Finding just the right teletherapy clinician that will be an asset to your school can be a daunting task. Some quick guidelines may help you maximize the effectiveness of your search while limiting the time you need to spend on this potentially tedious process.
For starters, you can’t skip over basics. As a first step, you will need to check all educational and professional credentials. Those who call themselves speech-language pathologists without at least a Master’s Degree from a reputable institution are probably disingenuous. Also, it is to be expected that all of the appropriate licenses are in place.
Whereas credentials are reasonably straightforward to quantify, the experience is not. This is because finding a teletherapy clinician with years of experience may not be all that useful unless it is the right experience. If you are considering a therapist with 20 years of experience in treating stuttering, how will that help you if your students have articulation deficits?
Sometimes the quickest and most effective way to determine if you are looking at the right therapist is to ask for references and recommendations. After all, competence speaks for itself. Don’t be shy when you are vetting out the candidate under consideration. After all, these are your students, and your reputation is on the line!
Any therapist worth her salt should be able to provide you with references either from previous schools or private work done with children. And remember that you are interested in more than technical proficiency. Does the therapist develop a good rapport with her students? Don’t overlook rapport as it is essential for long-term success.
Knowledge and Professional Development
Aside from maintaining licensure and certification which sometimes require taking professional education courses annually, there are other substantial benefits to be gained from staying on top of the latest research and developments in the field. Speech pathology continues to evolve, and you want someone who is familiar with and interested in cutting-edge developments.
It is imperative that whoever you hire will be able to communicate both clearly and pleasantly with the other members of the team such as parents, teacher, and the supervisor. Does this teletherapy clinician listen to others’ concerns for the child? Are suggestions considered or are others’ opinions treated as threats?
Research has shown that while much can be done in an hour-long teletherapy session, it doesn’t compare to what could be gained from the rest of the week. Does this therapist understand and know how to work with parents to reinforce lessons throughout the week in creative ways within the home?
The Real Shortcut
Sure it would be great to go online to some jobs site, scan the resume, schedule an interview and be done with it. But remember. Often investing a little more time and thought in who will become your next teletherapy clinician is the shortcut. Not only will you land a great therapist, but you may not need to do this again for a while.