Building Strong Relationships Between Online SLPs and Onsite Staff

Woman working on laptopTelecommuters know the value of strong communication with their colleagues who work in the office. Email, phone, chat and online meetings all contribute to keeping the team informed and helping to build relationships.

The same holds true for online speech language pathologists (SLPs), who often work hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of miles from the school sites where they provide services. Close teamwork is essential to ensure all members of a student’s IEP team are on the same page to help the student achieve his or her goals.

There is more to communicate, however, than IEP goals and status updates. For example, Amy Peters, a PresenceLearning SLP, recently told me about a student she works with who is down a lot of the time. While working with him, she found something that made him laugh and shared this with the onsite team. They told Amy, in turn, that it is their goal to make that same student laugh every day. Sharing other milestone moments, such as the first time a student is able to say “R” correctly, not only brings the team together, but also enables team members to reinforce lessons, celebrate successes and watch for issues in a cohesive and consistent way.

Flexibility is key for the online SLP, whose function is to support onsite staff and students. Email is more convenient for some people, while a phone call works better for others. The online SLP must adapt to whatever is most effective for the individuals he or she works with. Amy emails her onsite contacts daily, makes short phone calls as needed (such as for quick check-ins or if a student is late to a session) and even holds occasional meetings on the PresenceLearning platform. She also makes it a priority to respond quickly to questions she receives from the school.

Online SLPs who stay on top of communication in a flexible way can build strong professional and personal relationships, ensuring close teamwork for years to come.