Before joining PresenceLearning, Cheryl M., CCC-SLP, practiced as a speech-language pathologist for 19 years in K-5 in public schools. She’s been working with PresenceLearning since 2016.
How has the PL online platform enabled you to help your students and the schools you serve in new ways?
I have been able to collaborate with the assigned primary support person (PSP) located onsite for new ways to help children communicate. They let me know about school culture/materials and I bring my speech and language background. It has made for a dynamic team!
Can you tell us a little about how you collaborate with teachers and other school staff members?
I email teachers at the start of the year to introduce myself and then I make it a goal to continue to connect three times per year, at IEP time, and any other time there is a need. Teachers can reach out to me at any time. For example, one teacher was concerned about how a boy’s vocalic-r was impacting his spelling. I sent his PSP a set of picture cards for him to practice with, she laminated and cut them, and the teacher spent a few minutes after reading group having him practice the words.
How do you build trust and rapport with parents?
I spend time listening to their concerns. I explain that I got into the field of speech therapy because my own daughter had a speech delay, and I let them know that the first IEPs I ever attended were on “the parent side of the table.” I get it! I also emphasize to parents that we are a team, working together to help their child communicate, and I let them know that they have valuable input to give.
What advice would you give districts considering online therapy?
Do it! What I love about online therapy is that districts have a great number of therapists available to help their students with communication issues. When I was an onsite therapist, I felt like I could never be completely up-to-speed on fluency, social communication, articulation, language skills, voice therapy, etc. As SLPs we cover a lot! As a teletherapist, I am so supported. I can tap into experts in various areas, or, if something is beyond my scope, I can easily refer a client to someone who has more background in that area.
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