June brings a sigh of relief to school districts as the final flurry of activity comes to an end. Last month, we checked in with on-the-ground SLPs, OTs, and mental health professionals to see what some of the biggest challenges are at this time of year. Completing evaluations was ranked highly among related services staff and special education directors alike. Job burnout, however, was the biggest stressor for clinicians. We’ll look at some of the reasons for burnout next month, but in the meantime PresenceLearning offers a number of resources for clinicians who may be thinking about a way to reignite their careers: Live the Possible Dream: Three industry veterans give you an insider’s look at the pros and cons of teletherapy in this on-demand…

The 2016-17 school year is barely ending, but many special education directors are already looking ahead to next year while managing the annual frenzy of tests and activities that take place in May and June. Last month we asked about these year-end challenges. Top stressors were staffing for next year, completing evaluations, and ensuring all IEP services have been delivered. Among write-in responses, paperwork continues to be a plague. So, how can we help? PresenceLearning offers a number of resources and services to address some of these challenges: Budget planning: Peter Bittel, co-founder and CEO of the Futures HealthCore, and Dr. Nicholas Young, Superintendent of South Hadley Public Schools, share their advice in our white paper “Transforming Special Education in a Challenging Fiscal Environment.“ Staffing: Live,…

By Elizabeth Haas This is the third and final post in a three-part series on school-based occupational therapy for sensory integration issues. You can read part one here, where I provide an overview of sensory integration issues, and part two here, in which I describe working with a little girl and her mother. Working with a child who has sensory integration needs is not so very different online as it is onsite. As occupational therapists, we need to listen to school teams and parents to learn the types of inappropriate behaviors that are preventing a child from performing to their fullest ability in school. With this information in hand, we can then educate school staff and families on sensory integration and make suggestions on what…

Our final webinar in the “Eureka! Big Ideas for Big Changes in SPED” webinar series was with Dr. Randy Sprick. During “Aha! Misbehavior is a Puzzle, Not a Threat. Discover the STOIC Framework for Behavior Support,” Dr. Sprick discussed how a positive school and classroom environment can encourage better student behavior. After the webinar, our co-founder and co-CEO Clay Whitehead moderated viewer questions for Dr. Sprick. Below is a summary of this informative Q&A. Clay: Instead of playing “firefighter” and reacting to misbehavior, what advice do you have for behavior intervention specialists who want to help general educators be more proactive? Dr. Sprick: I think this advice applies to anyone feeling deluged with putting out fires – deans of students, assistant principals, a principals, and administrators also have…

The team at PresenceLearning will be in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida, Maine, Oregon, Washington, and Arkansas in June. Stop by and say hello! CCOSA/USSA Law Day and Summer Conference  June 7 – 8 Norman, OK LASEA 2017 Summer Conference June 7 – 8 New Orleans, LA FL CASE Summer Leadership Institute  June 12 – 14 Bonita Springs, FL Annual New England Early Intervention Conference  June 14 – 15 Portland, ME MADSEC 2017 Directors’ Academy June 21 – 23 Bar Harbor, ME COSA Seaside Pre-Conference  June 21 Seaside, OR WASA/AWSP Summer Conference June 25 – 27 Spokane, WA AASEA Special Education Conference June 26 – 27 Rogers, AR Would you like to schedule a private demo during one of these conferences? Email schools@presencelearning.com and let us know where you will be attending.

Recently, leaders in early childhood education research met to comb through decades worth of research about their area of study. Their final report, “The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects,” provides a comprehensive look at the current state of preschool education and what research says about what works and what doesn’t. The report has one clear message: Children who attend public preschool are better prepared for kindergarten than their peers who don’t. NPR highlighted a few additional statistics: All children benefit from preschool, but those who have experienced “economic scarcity and insecurity” benefit most. Dual-language learners – most are low income, Spanish-speaking children – gain proficiency in their English-language learning, as well as other academic skills during preschool. The researchers say learning two…

There is a shortage of qualified school-based speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and mental health professionals in many states. Telepractice helps alleviate these shortages by making these clinicians available online in areas that may otherwise struggle to be served. The Tennessee General Assembly recently passed an amendment to Senate Bill 195 enabling schools be be reimbursed by Medicaid for these services provided via telepractice, which were previously reimbursable in Tennessee only in managed care organizations and school-based health clinics.

By Elizabeth Haas This is the second post in a three-part series on school-based occupational therapy for sensory integration issues. You can read the first post here, where I provide an overview of sensory integration issues.  L. is a student who not only inspired me, but taught me that working online with children who have sensory integration needs is possible. When I met L., she was eight years old and in the third grade. When she started school in kindergarten, she attended a brick and mortar school, but she suffered so many traumatic experiences there that her parents switched her to a virtual school. L.’s needs were so severe and led to so many scary experiences for her and her family that she actually stopped…

Ronnie Sidney, a proud recipient of a master’s degree in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University and a published children’s book author, was not always on track for success – at least not according to his teachers. Sidney is a black male diagnosed with ADHD, which he says created a double stigma for him to overcome. In a recent NPR article, Sidney spoke about his school experience, including how he felt misunderstood or judged by some of his teachers and how this encouraged him to prove them wrong. Unfortunately, not every student of color with special needs succeeds like Sidney. According to the article, the National Center for Learning Disabilities analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Education and found students with learning disabilities drop out at…

The “Have you Heard” podcast covers various public education topics. Recently hosts Aaron French and Jennifer Berkshire aired the episode titled “Kindergarten Suspensions: Yes, It’s a Thing.” The thought of suspended kindergarteners seems absurd, but it’s happening more than you think, especially in urban areas. In the podcast, French and Berkshire focus on the story of 5-year-old Malik Cross, who was suspended from his Boston-area public school 16 times in kindergarten. Malikka Williams, his mother, said Malik was getting sent to the dean’s office for arbitrary reasons such as “wiggling on the rug, not tracking the teacher with his eyes or for laughing when a friend whispered in his ear.” Malik, being a 5-year-old, was confused about why this behavior warranted a trip to the dean’s office. This confusion, coupled with his diagnosed social-emotional development delays and inability to self-regulate his emotions, led to meltdowns. During his meltdowns, Malik kicked, spit, hit, and ran out of the building; all offenses for which the dean suspended him. By the time he was suspended 16 times in four months, Williams knew something needed to be done. Unfortunately, Malik’s school was run by a non-profit management group that did not have to follow…

© 2017. All Rights Reserved. | PresenceLearning makes live, online special education related services available to K-12 students around the country — and world. As the leader in the delivery of clinical services via the web, PresenceLearning has provided over one million sessions of speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral interventions and mental health services, assessments, and early childhood services.