Virtually Speaking: A Teletherapy Blog for Clinicians, by Clinicians - PresenceLearning

This month we spoke with Kristin Martinez, M.A., CCC-SLP, Head of Clinical Standards and Outreach with PresenceLearning, to discuss how therapy happens online within the PresenceLearning platform. She focuses on the key features available for providers in the PL Care Network. Can you tell us how providers utilize online therapy materials and share ideas among the PresenceLearning community? Providers in the PL Care Network can upload any scanned materials for personal use in their individual therapy rooms. They can organize their materials into queues within the therapy room in whatever manner makes the most sense for their planning. In addition to uploaded materials (e.g., worksheets, game boards, books), providers have access to all the supplemental and interactive tools developed by the PresenceLearning product team, including whiteboard tools, animated rewards, interactive and customizable memory and flash cards. Providers also have the ability to upload videos and to use PresenceLearning’s SiteShare tool to bring in some web-based activities. In addition to customizable therapy rooms, providers also have access to the greatest resource, their fellow PresenceLearning clinicians! PresenceLearning offers a provider community forum called the Lounge, where PL Care Network providers can interact, ask questions, and post ideas. For example, in the Bright…

Leah Wilner grew up in western Massachusetts, in a small town outside Amherst. From her small town base, she traveled the world, living in France, Spain, and Ireland, college in DC, then on to San Francisco and Oregon for grad school, back to San Francisco to work as an SLP in the Berkeley schools, and today, she lives in Reno. Leah has been an SLP with PresenceLearning since 2018. Could you walk us through your daily routine? A “day in the life of a PL therapist” if you will? I’m in a unique position right now—my partner and I are about to move so I am currently doing sessions in my home in a quiet corner to reduce the distractions. In my new home, I’ll…

Jenna Malander lives in rural Nebraska with her husband and three children, ages 7, 6, and 4. She’s been working as an Occupational Therapist since 2009. The population of Jenna’s town is 117. You read that right. She told us that school-based jobs in her area are hard to come by and, if you have an OT position, it tends to involve a lot of driving because the area is so rural. The lack of job opportunities and the search for more flexibility as a working mom led her to teletherapy. Jenna is a Lead Clinician at PresenceLearning. Could you walk us through your daily routine? A “day in the life of a PL therapist” if you will? My workday typically starts after I get…

This month we spoke with Kristin Martinez, M.A., CCC-SLP, a clinical quality manager with PresenceLearning, to discuss how caseload management works online. Let’s begin with how you access your assignments as a PL teletherapist. PL providers are given assignments that are a good match based upon active licensure, relevant discipline, and availability that is in-line with a particular school’s schedule. Providers receive notification of this assignment with all necessary initial details as well as the name of the PL lead clinician supporting this district. Following this first notification, the lead clinician then contacts the provider to initiate the process of supplying all required assignment details. Once a provider has a confirmed assignment, she will have access to any information PL has gathered regarding the district,…

We’ve had a lot of questions come in recently asking about how caseload management works in teletherapy. Specifically, we’ve had therapists ask how providers in the PL Care Network get their first assignment and complete all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into getting started with a new caseload. This is the first in a four-part series that walks through how to transition from onsite to online work as a therapist. We reached out to Kristin Martinez, SLP-CCC, to help us answer some of the most frequent questions we’ve heard. How do you define and communicate availability? At PresenceLearning, we request that providers indicate specifically when, each day, they are available to sit down in front of the computer for therapy sessions. These times must be recurring as therapy sessions are scheduled based upon this information. Beyond availability for direct therapy, however, providers must also be available to attend IEP meetings, complete evaluations, respond to email, and complete all student-related documentation and paperwork. The days and times may vary, but providers are still responsible for all caseload-related tasks, just as onsite providers would be. We begin to gather availability information during the recruiting process, then if a provider contracts with us,…

Lindsey Terry, M.A, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist, teletherapist, and parent of four children. She is also a Power Vinyasa Yoga Instructor and teaches about three classes a week and is leading her very first yoga retreat in March of 2019. Attracted by the flexibility that teletherapy offered her as a working parent and SLP, she joined the PresenceLearning Care Network four years ago after taking some time off for family. We spoke with Lindsey about her experience working as a teletherapist. Could you walk us through your daily routine? A “day in the life of a PL therapist” if you will? I have four kids. I have two daughters,13 and 11, and I have twins that are 8 so I wake up and get…

Nova Quinn, CCC-SLP, began hearing about teletherapy while attending graduate school in San Francisco. She moved to Providence, Rhode Island after graduation in 2012 and started working in a public school five days a week. She was really interested in trying out teletherapy.  Because she finished her public school days early at 2 pm Eastern time, she realized she could come home from her onsite therapy, open her computer, and pick up a caseload in Washington or California, to test the teletherapy waters. And it was great. She loved it. Then she got pregnant. When she had her son and was on maternity leave, the public school didn’t have any flexibility—they needed her full time or not at all. Nova made the leap to PresenceLearning…

This month we spoke with Kristin Martinez, M.A., CCC-SLP, a clinical quality manager with PresenceLearning, to discuss what to expect, how to prepare, and how to navigate compliance issues for SLPs, OTs, and MHPs who might be considering a move to teletherapy. Let’s start at the beginning. What does a provider need to consider initially when preparing to practice in a new state via teletherapy? Of course the first consideration is adherence to any state licensure requirements. Depending on the state, this might include a state-issued license from each discipline’s governing body, but might also include a Department of Education license if you are providing teletherapy services in school-based settings. State license applications commonly require additional background checks in addition to letters of verification from the licensing bodies in any other states where you already hold a license. Also be aware that some states require a business registry/license if you are practicing as a telepractioner. What guidelines would you advise providers to research first? Educate yourself on your discipline’s national association best practice guidelines related to teletherapy (e.g., ASHA, AOTA, APA), and then start researching state regulations for any states where you have or are considering cross-licensure. In addition, it…

Gila Cohen-Shaw, M.A, CCC-SLP, PC, has worked with children as a speech-language pathologist for over 20 years in a wide range of settings and roles. She took the leap into teletherapy seven years ago and has not looked back. Today, Gila works as a lead clinician at PresenceLearning—she works with small, medium, and large school districts, and does individual therapy sessions as well. We sat down with Gila to talk about her work as a teletherapist. Could you walk us through your daily routine? Some of my day is routine, but mostly it’s pretty non-routine. I think I spend most of my day expecting the unexpected. Here’s the routine part: once I have my coffee or tea, I open up all the tabs and websites I use, and I open my Room. Then I open up the provider community portal, The Lounge, and respond to help with engagement and to share knowledge. Then I go through my emails. Each email generates a task—add a student, remove one, find a solution to a problem, answer a question. My goal is to clear my inbox (I don’t always achieve it). I might attend an IEP because I’m responsible for the case management for those…

Rachel Morris, OT, is an occupational therapist with PresenceLearning. Rachel started her OT career in 1990 and started with PL as an OT provider in 2013.   January is a great time to set goals for taking good care of our bodies. Because teletherapists have unique challenges with the physical demands of sitting in front of computer screens, we reached out to occupational therapist, Rachel Morris, for her strategies for paying attention to physical well-being and keeping a healthy and happy body. Let’s talk a little about routines you use to take care of your body while working. Will you share with us how your morning starts? Do you have any warm-up exercises you do before you sit down at your computer to meet with students? Ideally, stretching is best to do in the morning. I also recommend doing a little planking for core strength (The Plank is a yoga/pilates pose—you can learn more about it here.) Have a glass of water available and gather all of the materials you’ll need for your work at your desk before starting the day. Can you talk a little about scheduling and how you can fit in regular breaks to get up from…

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