Molly Ortiz – PresenceLearning

Bringing Cultural Sensitivity to Winter Holidays Kristin Martinez, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and clinical quality manager with PresenceLearning. Kristin started her career in 2000 working as an onsite SLP in her local community of Fort Collins, Colorado. In 2013, Kristin expanded her practice to teletherapy. As a CQM, Kristin has the opportunity to work with clinicians as well as district staff to support clinical teletherapy services in districts across several states. As we approach the beginning of winter, we wanted to reach out to Kristin for some advice on what she has learned over her years of practice about how to create a respectful, inclusive approach to holidays with students, their families, and school staff. In this month’s interview, she shares some ideas. How can practitioners bring celebration into their work with students at this time of year while avoiding a focus on any particular religious holiday to the exclusion of others? All holidays should be a time when we are particularly sensitive to the various cultural, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds of the children and families we serve. However, working as teletherapists brings an even greater level of responsibility—while we might consider ourselves attuned to traditions of…

Kristin Martinez, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and clinical quality manager with PresenceLearning. Kristin started her career in 2000 working as an onsite SLP in her local community of Fort Collins, Colorado. In 2013, Kristin expanded her practice to teletherapy. In her role, Kristin has the opportunity to work with clinicians as well as district staff to support clinical teletherapy services in districts across several states. As a follow-on article to last month’s feature, “Best Practices for Setting Up a Home Teletherapy Office,” we connected with Kristin this month for advice on managing the challenges associated with working out of a home office (distractions with kids and pets, cleaning sounds, etc.). In this month’s interview, Kristin offers best practices for creating work-life balance. What was the biggest adjustment you had to make when you transitioned from working onsite to working in a home office? I found the most significant adjustment was that I had to take greater initiative to connect with my colleagues as I wouldn’t be “running into” anyone during staff meetings, in the teachers’ lounge, etc. While I valued the autonomy of working from home, I realized that I needed to ensure that I was taking advantage of opportunities…

Kristin Martinez, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a Clinical Quality Manager with PresenceLearning. Kristin started her career in 2000 working as an onsite SLP in her local community of Fort Collins, Colorado. In 2013, Kristin expanded her practice to teletherapy and has never looked back. We reached out to her this month for advice and best practices on setting up your teletherapy office. First, let’s talk about how to set up a teletherapy home office to create a welcoming and engaging environment for the students, parents, and school staff you work with. What are the key elements therapists need to consider in setting up their workspace—from the student perspective? The primary focus needs to be on creating the best possible visual and auditory environment for both the clinician and the student. Working in a private, quiet space with good lighting is essential. Make sure that you are selecting a space that minimizes any potential background noise and that maximizes light. Experiment with lighting: If possible, avoid bright sunlit windows right behind you. If you must have a window behind, you’ll need to light your face from in front to balance the brightness behind you. Try bouncing light off the ceiling to brighten…

Clinical Quality Manager Kristin Martinez, CCC-SLP, offers tips for building rapport with teachers, parents, and caregivers in order to ensure students reach their full potential. Read the interview below for best practices to start the school year off right. After you’ve made your initial introductions, how do you build lasting relationships with school staff members and parents/caregivers? Make it clear that you want to be an active member of the child’s and school’s team, and that you are invested in your students’ success both in the classroom and at home! Parents and teachers have a lot on their plates, in addition to the fact that they might not always fully understand the role of related care providers and how we can support students’ needs. It is important that the therapist take the initiative to learn about students’ strengths and needs in the classroom and home settings, and to continually and consistently reach out with ideas, practice materials, and support. What recommendations do you have for other therapists who are struggling to make connections with parents/caregivers? Reach out with good news! Parents and caregivers get to hear quite a bit about their childrens’ struggles and areas of need, but how often…

Clinical Quality Manager Karin H. Koukeyan, CCC-SLP, offers best practices for making school introductions, building rapport, and becoming a team member your school contacts can rely on. Read the full interview with questions and answers designed to help you prepare for the new school year. Q: If you’re new to a school district, how do you go about making introductions when you work remotely? A: It’s always best to start with an introductory letter that can be emailed to school staff. Be sure to include information about your professional background along with some fun personal facts and a photo to add a personal touch. Since you won’t be meeting in person, you should seize the opportunity for school staff to get to know you. Q: Any tips for making a good first impression? A: Be the first one to reach out to establish expectation for communication with the school. Set the tone for how you would like to collaborate during the school year. A common misconception is that you might over step by reaching out through multiple modalities, but as a remote contractor, it’s always best practice to over-communicate. Q: What are some best practices for reconnecting with your school…

By Karin H. Koukeyan, CCC-SLP Are you looking for ways to improve your students’ engagement in preparation for fall? Start planning your sessions now to ensure a smooth start to the school year, and think about ways to meet students where they are, as digital natives, by incorporating 21st century techniques into your lesson plans. Clinical Quality Manager, Karin Koukeyan, CCC-SLP, answered a few common questions on the subject of technology & therapy: Q: What advice can you give therapists who are looking to prepare for fall and want new resources to engage students? A: Remember to always focus on your students’ unique needs. Service delivery via telepractice should not limit your ability to work with students of all ages and choosing age-appropriate materials should always be a priority. Similar to onsite therapy, games can enrich the therapy experience and make drills more motivating. There are many interactive websites that provide free online games that can be played with students through platforms which allow screen sharing. Q: How can you incorporate 21st century learning techniques into your therapy (even if you don’t work online)? A: When one thinks of 21st century learning techniques, the use of technology always comes to…

Jennifer Cravens is School Partnership Clinician with PresenceLearning. Jen started her career with PresenceLearning as a contracted speech-language pathologist in 2013. Jen explains how she made the transition from contractor to employee and offers advice to those looking to advance their career with PresenceLearning. Can you tell me about your background and how you came to work with PresenceLearning? I have over 20 years of school-based experience as a speech-language pathologist. I spent 14 years in schools and medical settings and 6 years as a Clinical Instructor at the University of Illinois. During this time, I realized how I could reach more students by practicing online and I quickly learned how to teach online. I taught an online course and over 700 students were able to attend my class (the classes in…

Michelle Brownlee is School Partnership Director with PresenceLearning. Michelle started her career with PresenceLearning as a contracted speech-language pathologist in 2012 when she was living in Japan. Michelle explains how she made the transition from contractor to employee and offers advice to those looking to advance their career with PresenceLearning. Can you tell me a little about your background and how you came to work for PresenceLearning? I have been a licensed Speech Language Pathologist since 1991. For several years, I lived in Japan.  Although I speak some Japanese and was employed part-time teaching English, I was unable to work as an SLP.   The year prior to my big move back to the United States, I decided to take a look at what opportunities were available…

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