Breaking from Convention—The Online SLP

While many speech-language pathologists (SLPs) find their place working in school settings, others are now discovering the numerous benefits of working remotely and providing their services—live—online. A recent poll of SLPs working online with PresenceLearning, most of whom had worked in schools, revealed that they felt that switching to online delivery has helped them improve professionally and made them more efficient. School settings are often hectic and filled with distractions and interruptions; online sessions allow SLPs to work from their homes where they are able to focus their efforts and balance their workloads, benefiting their students. Adrienne Krouskop, a PresenceLearning SLP, felt that doing therapy online has significantly improved her data tracking skills and habits, citing that it is not only more accurate but much less time-consuming to do these essential tasks online and in real-time during sessions.

“My paper work, caseload and meeting requirements are so much better with PresenceLearning,” said Tricia Grady, a SLP. Because it has been easier to manage their workloads, many SLPs noted that they no longer have to take sick days to catch up on reports and communications.

Using online delivery, SLPs can deliver both individual and group sessions, with activities quickly individualized to the specifications in each student’s IEP. PresenceLearning’s vast online library of therapeutic content makes it easy for SLPs to tailor each student’s activities to fit their specific needs, eliminating much of the stress of preparing each “just right” session, according to PresenceLearning SLP Tamara Reynolds.

While some may fear losing the collegiality of working on a school team, PresenceLearning SLPs say that this is not a problem because they are connected in a highly engaged, online community of hundreds of fellow PresenceLearning SLPs. This large, private community uses a Facebook-like service called Yammer, giving clinicians a nearly instantaneous way to share ideas and get advice from an “always on” network of experienced, tech-savvy colleagues.

“I have never felt more part of a team than I do now,” says Cristina Mennella, a PresenceLearning SLP. “I know that if I have a question or concern, I can consult with more than 250 SLPs and probably have the best advice and answers within 24 to 48 hours of posting it in the community.”

SLPs, special education administrators and parents often wonder if moving therapy to an online setting will take away from the human connection that on-site SLPs have with students.  Because PresenceLearning SLPs often manage their students’ cases, they get to know these kids, their parents, their teachers, developing a bond in the process, “As we know, smiles and laughter are still universal and there is lot to be said for virtual high fives and hugs, too,” said PresenceLearning SLP Cindy Hollman.

Another PresenceLearning SLP, shared a personal testimonial from a very special student:

“Hiii(: Anna I really miss working with you! I added you on facebook, hopeing we can be friends. I wanted to let you know how much you helped me thoughout the year. I made DEAN’S HONOR LIST! I love how you made me feel like i was talking to a close friend. I could open up to you without judgement because you knew what i felt like. I’m glad God gave me you. You made me feel that i could make it in anything. I feel if i did’t have you during “speech” i wouldt have made it to this point. We met at a very hard time in my life and i know i am going to finish my goal this year! You meant a lot! I would love to hear from you!“

Have you come across any other stories about how online therapy transforms kids’ lives? Let us know! Comment below, post on our Facebook page, or tweet us at @PresenceLearn!