Jenna has been working as an Occupational Therapist since 2009. Jenna is a Lead Clinician at PresenceLearning.
How has the PL online platform enabled you to help your students and the schools you serve in new ways?
The PL platform is highly interactive which helps us to better engage the students. As a clinician, I have a wide range of treatment activities readily available and I can switch between them seamlessly as needed throughout the session. As an OT, I work off of the platform a lot too, working on hand strengthening, scissor skills, etc. The students love watching me mirror things for them (we usually turn it into a game!). The various camera/screen sizes and the ability to use two cameras simultaneously has really improved my therapy outcomes.
Can you tell us a little about how you collaborate with teachers and other school staff members?
Great communication is pivotal to success with our students. After receiving an assignment, I generally send out an email to the teacher, SPED Director, principal, etc., letting them know who I am and sharing my contact information to establish an initial rapport so that communication pathways are open at all times. As services get going, I work very closely with the paraprofessional at the school, or parent in the virtual setting. We communicate almost daily re: observations they or the teacher may have of the student, activities I would like tried within the class setting, items to have ready for our next session, etc. I check in with the teachers frequently, making sure that the success I am seeing during our sessions is transitioning to the classroom setting. I work closely with the case manager and IEP team as well—writing the IEP is a collaborative team process.
How do you build trust and rapport with parents?
In the brick and mortar environment, I like to send out a Welcome to OT! letter at the beginning of the school year that lets parents know who I am, gives parents an idea of how online OT works, and provides them with my contact information. I also give them the opportunity to observe a session if they have any hesitation. In the virtual school environment, often the parent is working very closely with us during our sessions so they are able to see first hand what we are doing and its effectiveness. Teachers and parents are seeing the positive outcomes of our interventions through improved legibility or fine motor skills, and I think that alone helps them to feel at ease with the work we are doing.
What advice would you give districts considering online therapy?
Online therapy is a great tool and solution for many students needing Special Education services. With technology making itself more present in our lives, the students are very motivated to participate in our online services. Presence Learning has a large team of professionals working to ensure the platform we use is highly advanced. It allows us to be productive and efficient with our time, while providing us various modes to deliver highly interactive and individualized sessions. Therapists are getting in and out of sessions, while avoiding drive and travel time. This allows us to spend more time doing what matters and that is working with our students on their specific areas of need!
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