Out of the more than 1,000 schools using PresenceLearning online speech therapy, 10 school districts were recently awarded the PresenceLearning Award of Excellence. These districts were selected based on the percentage of students who improved one level or more in spoken language production and spoken language comprehension on the Functional Communication Measures (FCMs) scales during the 2013-14 school year.
The impressive progress these students made would not be possible without the support, expertise and dedication of our online speech-language pathologists (SLPs). This blog series profiles the very talented people who helped these districts achieve such high success rates.
In this Q & A, we chat with Tonya Sevilla, our SLP who works with students from the North State Charter Joint Powers Authority (JPA) in Redding, CA.
“Tonya is an experienced and knowledgeable clinician. She works independently and efficiently to provide exemplary services. She is excellent at building rapport and communicating with the school staff. We are very proud to have her on the PresenceLearning Team.” – Marcus Rose, Tonya’s Senior Clinician Consultant (SCC)
“I think the majority of the credit for this award needs to go to Tonya Sevilla, our Speech therapist at Presence Learning. She is fabulous! We enjoy working with her and she has wonderful rapport with kids.” – Jean Hatch, co-director of Redding School of the Arts II at North State Charter JPA
Q. How long have you been working with PresenceLearning?
A: This is my second school year with PresenceLearning.
Q: Share a story about a student you’ve worked with online who has touched you in some way.
A: I have a couple of students who are always eager and excited to work with me. When I’ve given them corrective feedback, they always takes it in stride and typically say something along the lines of “I want to make you proud of me” or “Did I do it better than last time?” When our sessions are over, I hear statements like “Oh no, it’s over already!” or “I’ll miss you.”
Q: The school you worked with in 2013-14 achieved better results than nearly 1,000 others. Why do you think there has been so much success at that school?
A: The TEAM for sure. From the top administration down to the aide, everyone is very open and collaborative. Any minor issues that have arisen have always been addressed in a prompt, timely manner and there is never any blame. We truly work as a team and I feel like I’m a part of their family.
Q: What attracted you to working online?
A: Two main reasons:
- The flexibility: I’m currently working part-time for PresenceLearning and I love that I am able to log-on, work with my students and multi-task (e.g. throw in a load of laundry, take a shower, etc.) and get back to business in the blink of an eye.
- The commute (or lack thereof): When I’m not working for PresenceLearning, I’m a clinical instructor at the California State University Northridge (CSUN) in the Communication Disorders Graduate Program. I supervise/teach part-time on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and driving two days a week in LA traffic is more than enough for me.
Q: What do you love the most about being an SLP?
A: Again, the flexibility! Also the variety — I’m NEVER bored!
I’m entering my 23rd year as a licensed SLP and have worked in every setting with every age group across various populations. My career has changed as my life has changed (e.g. being single, relocating, getting married, starting a family, etc.) and being an SLP has allowed me to do that seamlessly. I love that as SLPs we are always learning and that our next great adventure can literally be our next client.
Q: What are some of the things you like best about telepractice?
A: There are three main things:
- The technology: I had to write my reports on a typewriter in grad school and handwrite my SOAP notes. Now I can provide virtual services to anyone anywhere in the world and document in real-time! Awesome!
- The flexibility.
- The creativity: When you have the right tools, it frees your mind and gives you energy to really focus on your clients as individuals.
Q: How has the PresenceLearning community benefited you as an SLP?
A: As I mentioned earlier, I’m a lecturer at CSUN. Working with PresenceLearning has given me the opportunity to “present the future” to our students and share with them yet another avenue of service delivery that awaits them upon graduation.
Q: How do you think telepractice has made you better as a clinician?
A: It has definitely unleashed my creativity. Having the world (access to materials) at your fingertips has enabled me to customize my treatment approaches to keep my clients engaged and motivated because I’m able to use/modify materials that are specific to their particular interests and needs.
Q: What do you like best about the PresenceLearning platform? How does it help you to do your job?
A: There are three ways:
- The ability to document online, in real-time is a huge benefit! It saves a lot of time and energy!
- I’m all about data and progress so being able to track progress, view it and analyze it with a click of a few buttons has allowed me to modify my treatment to achieve the best outcomes in the shortest amount of time.
- It’s great that we are able to show videos for training/teaching, give students virtual rewards and modify materials that are specific to their particular interests and needs.
Q: What would you tell other clinicians who are thinking about working online with PresenceLearning?
A: I would tell them DO IT!
We are so glad Tonya has brought her experience and enthusiasm to PresenceLearning. Thanks, Tonya!