Changing gears from being a school-based SLP to starting a private practice can be a big change, especially when your new practice is online. PresenceLearning has a wide range of ways to support independent telepractitioners including an assigned onboarding specialist, technical support, mentoring, and professional development opportunities. However, moving to the online world does mean learning new technology and finding the most effective way to communicate with school staff, parents, and peers from hundreds of miles away. Janet Courtney, an SLP who has contracted with PresenceLearning as an SLP for five years, shares her insights on what it takes to be successful in telepractice and what she likes most about working online.
Janet, it is great to have you in our network, and thank you for all that you do!
Q. Let’s start off with everyone’s favorite question. Please tell us a story about a student you’ve worked with online who has touched or inspired you in some way.
A. I had a student with high functioning autism who was struggling with social interactions with peers. I have a son who was this student’s age and grade level. With the permission of the parent and the IEP team at the school, I set up a social group with this student and my son so he had a chance to practice his social conversational skills in a safe and more comfortable environment. The boys became friends over the course of the year and the parent indicated she saw much improvement and was grateful for the change in her son.
Q. What do you think are the keys to being a successful telepractitioner?
A. Make the activities functional and applicable to that child’s needs. Following up with parents, learning coaches, and teachers to keep communication open regarding therapy and the student’s needs.
Q. Why did you decide to try telepractice with PresenceLearning?
A. I knew that the technology was out there to make this a possibility. I was looking for a company that was going to do it but do it well and that is PresenceLearning.
Q. What do you love the most about your career?
A. We are doing cutting edge services and I get to do that with a great group of people, but from the comfort of my own home.
Q. What has surprised you the most about working online?
A. The emotional connections made with staff and families that are hundreds of miles away.
Q. How has the PresenceLearning community benefited you as an SLP?
A. I have grown as an assessor and have become more confident in my treatment skills.
Q. What do you like best about the PresenceLearning platform?
A. The ability to use lots of different materials from others, and if I can’t find what I need, I can make something and share it with others to use as well. There is an ever-expanding library.
Q. What would you tell other clinicians who are thinking about trying telepractice with PresenceLearning?
A. Make the commitment to give it a try and stick with it. It is worth the work to try something new and it can change your life. It has changed mine!