Three Pointers When Moving Your ‘Speech Room’ Online Looking to provide school-based services remotely? Here’s what to consider. In Private Practice
Free
In Private Practice  |   December 01, 2014
Three Pointers When Moving Your ‘Speech Room’ Online
Author Notes
  • Harris Larney, MBA, is chief executive officer of E-Therapy, a Flagstaff, Arizona-based company that delivers speech-language and occupational and physical therapy services to schools and their students nationwide. harris@electronic-therapy.com
    Harris Larney, MBA, is chief executive officer of E-Therapy, a Flagstaff, Arizona-based company that delivers speech-language and occupational and physical therapy services to schools and their students nationwide. harris@electronic-therapy.com×
  • Diana Parafiniuk, MS, CCC-SLP, is co-founder and chief marketing officer of E-Therapy. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Group 18, Telepractice. diana@electronic-therapy.com
    Diana Parafiniuk, MS, CCC-SLP, is co-founder and chief marketing officer of E-Therapy. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Group 18, Telepractice. diana@electronic-therapy.com×
  • Birgit Suess, MS, CCC-SLP, is co-founder and chief operating officer of E-Therapy. birgit@electronic-therapy.com
    Birgit Suess, MS, CCC-SLP, is co-founder and chief operating officer of E-Therapy. birgit@electronic-therapy.com×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Telepractice & Computer-Based Approaches / In Private Practice
In Private Practice   |   December 01, 2014
Three Pointers When Moving Your ‘Speech Room’ Online
The ASHA Leader, December 2014, Vol. 19, 36-37. doi:10.1044/leader.IPP.19122014.36
The ASHA Leader, December 2014, Vol. 19, 36-37. doi:10.1044/leader.IPP.19122014.36
In some schools, students who go to the “speech room” meet with their speech-language pathologist on a computer monitor instead of in the flesh. Telepractice is a fast-growing segment of school-based intervention, especially for underserved schools—those in remote areas or in small districts with low caseloads—that find it difficult to hire and retain staff, and even for larger districts that want to reduce their SLPs’ travel time between schools.
Our company, E-Therapy, launched in 2009 and based in Flagstaff, Arizona, is one of the first telepractice companies in the country. We’ve grown significantly and now provide services to the gamut of U.S. schools—online academic programs as well as schools and districts. In our five years, we have learned some important lessons about how to provide speech-language services effectively to school districts via telepractice. We share three insights here.
Understand that telepractice is still about speech-language treatment and not all about technology and software. Providers who focus more on the technology have forgotten that speech-language treatment is about the quality of the clinician working with the student and the student’s ability to meet his or her individualized goals. Most schools are looking for core speech-language services—not the bells and whistles of elaborate technologies or platforms. A school hires an SLP to provide services previously unavailable to its students, and is most likely not looking for expensive equipment, technology to replace a clinician, or high-priced services it may not be able to afford.
Keep telepractice simple, creative, innovative and intervention-based. Technology is wonderful and can be used when appropriate, but it shouldn’t dominate your sessions. It’s very important that a school’s staff understands what you are doing and how to work with you.
Maintain communication with staff members and the school district. Many rural schools have high staff turnover rates, and we may work with several paraprofessionals throughout a single school year. Patience is key, especially if you are constantly educating new staff members on how telepractice works and how you incorporate staff into treatment sessions and processes. Paraprofessionals and other staff members provide the successful link to implementing a quality telepractice program that supports the school’s needs.
Schools rely on successful telepractice to bring speech intervention to their students. Without a solid relationship among the clinician, the classroom teacher, the aide and the school director, success will be more difficult to achieve. Conversely, well-trained and experienced SLPs are a must to deliver quality telepractice services to students.
SLPs need a good understanding of, and should be able to effectively communicate with, the school’s student population and be aware of the culture of the school community. Rural schools, due to their location, may have limited staff and locations to provide related services, and each school’s unique characteristics should be taken into account when implementing telepractice.
Be part of—or seek the advice of—experienced telepractice providers. Experienced telepractice companies keep clinicians apprised of current literature that supports telepractice, as well as federal special education mandates and relevant state laws and licensing requirements. Clinicians should be able to answer questions and outline responsibilities of telepractice and understand the legal requirements of service provision and how services will be carried out for the school year.
Telepractice is fundamentally no different from face-to-face school-based services: It’s about creating long-lasting relationships between the school staff and the clinician, trust, and quality speech-language services. Telepractice is a highly rewarding and much-needed service that SLPs can provide to rural and remote school communities, online and virtual schools, and urban and suburban schools that need extra staff.
1 Comment
December 4, 2014
Ellen-Sue Diamant
Internet speeds in rural areas
Although SLT online is a super wonderful idea especially in rural areas (as mentioned in your article) many rural areas, such as mine, do not have a high enough internet speed access for running the 'programs' some online companies use towards providing SLT remotely. I've already checked into this with a couple of companies for my area.
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Name
Comment Title
Comment


This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
FROM THIS ISSUE
December 2014
Volume 19, Issue 12