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

Bringing Cultural Sensitivity to Winter Holidays Kristin Martinez, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and clinical quality manager with PresenceLearning. Kristin started her career in 2000 working as an onsite SLP in her local community of Fort Collins, Colorado. In 2013, Kristin expanded her practice to teletherapy. As a CQM, Kristin has the opportunity to work with clinicians as well as district staff to support clinical teletherapy services in districts across several states. As we approach the beginning of winter, we wanted to reach out to Kristin for some advice on what she has learned over her years of practice about how to create a respectful, inclusive approach to holidays with students, their families, and school staff. In this month’s interview, she shares some ideas. How can practitioners bring celebration into their work with students at this time of year while avoiding a focus on any particular religious holiday to the exclusion of others? All holidays should be a time when we are particularly sensitive to the various cultural, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds of the children and families we serve. However, working as teletherapists brings an even greater level of responsibility—while we might consider ourselves attuned to traditions of…

Kristin Martinez, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and clinical quality manager with PresenceLearning. Kristin started her career in 2000 working as an onsite SLP in her local community of Fort Collins, Colorado. In 2013, Kristin expanded her practice to teletherapy. In her role, Kristin has the opportunity to work with clinicians as well as district staff to support clinical teletherapy services in districts across several states. As a follow-on article to last month’s feature, “Best Practices for Setting Up a Home Teletherapy Office,” we connected with Kristin this month for advice on managing the challenges associated with working out of a home office (distractions with kids and pets, cleaning sounds, etc.). In this month’s interview, Kristin offers best practices for creating work-life balance. What was the biggest adjustment you had to make when you transitioned from working onsite to working in a home office? I found the most significant adjustment was that I had to take greater initiative to connect with my colleagues as I wouldn’t be “running into” anyone during staff meetings, in the teachers’ lounge, etc. While I valued the autonomy of working from home, I realized that I needed to ensure that I was taking advantage of opportunities…

Kristin Martinez, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a Clinical Quality Manager with PresenceLearning. Kristin started her career in 2000 working as an onsite SLP in her local community of Fort Collins, Colorado. In 2013, Kristin expanded her practice to teletherapy and has never looked back. We reached out to her this month for advice and best practices on setting up your teletherapy office. First, let’s talk about how to set up a teletherapy home office to create a welcoming and engaging environment for the students, parents, and school staff you work with. What are the key elements therapists need to consider in setting up their workspace—from the student perspective? The primary focus needs to be on creating the best possible visual and auditory environment for both the clinician and the student. Working in a private, quiet space with good lighting is essential. Make sure that you are selecting a space that minimizes any potential background noise and that maximizes light. Experiment with lighting: If possible, avoid bright sunlit windows right behind you. If you must have a window behind, you’ll need to light your face from in front to balance the brightness behind you. Try bouncing light off the ceiling to brighten…

Clinical Quality Manager Kristin Martinez, CCC-SLP, offers tips for building rapport with teachers, parents, and caregivers in order to ensure students reach their full potential. Read the interview below for best practices to start the school year off right. After you’ve made your initial introductions, how do you build lasting relationships with school staff members and parents/caregivers? Make it clear that you want to be an active member of the child’s and school’s team, and that you are invested in your students’ success both in the classroom and at home! Parents and teachers have a lot on their plates, in addition to the fact that they might not always fully understand the role of related care providers and how we can support students’ needs. It is important that the therapist take the initiative to learn about students’ strengths and needs in the classroom and home settings, and to continually and consistently reach out with ideas, practice materials, and support. What recommendations do you have for other therapists who are struggling to make connections with parents/caregivers? Reach out with good news! Parents and caregivers get to hear quite a bit about their childrens’ struggles and areas of need, but how often…

Clinical Quality Manager Karin H. Koukeyan, CCC-SLP, offers best practices for making school introductions, building rapport, and becoming a team member your school contacts can rely on. Read the full interview with questions and answers designed to help you prepare for the new school year. Q: If you’re new to a school district, how do you go about making introductions when you work remotely? A: It’s always best to start with an introductory letter that can be emailed to school staff. Be sure to include information about your professional background along with some fun personal facts and a photo to add a personal touch. Since you won’t be meeting in person, you should seize the opportunity for school staff to get to know you. Q: Any tips for making a good first impression? A: Be the first one to reach out to establish expectation for communication with the school. Set the tone for how you would like to collaborate during the school year. A common misconception is that you might over step by reaching out through multiple modalities, but as a remote contractor, it’s always best practice to over-communicate. Q: What are some best practices for reconnecting with your school…

By Karin H. Koukeyan, CCC-SLP Are you looking for ways to improve your students’ engagement in preparation for fall? Start planning your sessions now to ensure a smooth start to the school year, and think about ways to meet students where they are, as digital natives, by incorporating 21st century techniques into your lesson plans. Clinical Quality Manager, Karin Koukeyan, CCC-SLP, answered a few common questions on the subject of technology & therapy: Q: What advice can you give therapists who are looking to prepare for fall and want new resources to engage students? A: Remember to always focus on your students’ unique needs. Service delivery via telepractice should not limit your ability to work with students of all ages and choosing age-appropriate materials should always be a priority. Similar to onsite therapy, games can enrich the therapy experience and make drills more motivating. There are many interactive websites that provide free online games that can be played with students through platforms which allow screen sharing. Q: How can you incorporate 21st century learning techniques into your therapy (even if you don’t work online)? A: When one thinks of 21st century learning techniques, the use of technology always comes to…

What articles have caught your attention lately? Here are a few that our team has been sharing: Invisible Girls – Why autism is often overlooked in girls. (ASHA Leader) Finding a Voice For a Child – An SLP discovers a calling working with AAC. (ASHA Leader) Who is in special education and who has access to related services? New evidence from the National Survey of Children’s Health – An in-depth look at special education demographics. (Brookings) After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools, Second Edition – Resources for middle and high schools to address and prevent suicide. (NASP) What Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder? – BDD goes far beyond vanity and can lead to very serious implications. (Child Mind Institute)

Behavioral and mental health teletherapy has a long research history – over 50 years.  It originally started in the military as a way to provide services to deployed active duty members. Over time, its uses spread to other circumstances for adults and, eventually, children. Inherently, teletherapy makes sense for talk therapy – talking is talking regardless of it being in person, on the phone, or via video conferencing. Recently, teletherapy has been found effective, not only for counseling, but for traditional kinds of group therapies, skill building, and behavioral modification. Even though it seems like more in-depth types of services may not be as straightforward as talk therapy, they are often similar to onsite services.  Games and activities that are typically done onsite can be…

What articles have caught your attention lately? Here are a few that our team has been sharing: Remote Assessments Could Speed Autism Diagnosis – New research shows the feasibility of the remote diagnosis of autism. (Disability Scoop) Why Taking Away Recess Is a Counterproductive Punishment – Recess is an important part of learning. (ADDitude) New research into letter-spacing could help improve children’s reading – Increasing letter spacing can help people to read faster, but not due to visual processing. (Science Daily) Research-Tested Benefits of Breaks – Short breaks throughout the day help kids to focus and be more productive. (Edutopia) Students With Emotional Disabilities: Facts About This Vulnerable Population – Understanding and supporting students with mental health needs. (Education Week) Is technology impacting my child’s social and communications skills? – A look at how screen time…

Just as too much television was once a cause for concern for child development, overuse of technology on smartphones and tablets now worry parents, educators, and researchers. Hearing, vision, speech and language development, social communication skills, sleep, physical activity, and brain development can all be adversely impacted by too much screen time and overuse of earbuds or headphones. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen time for children between the ages of two and five to an hour of high-quality programing per day. It also important for children to have set times that are free of devices, such as during dinner or before bedtime, and for parents to model good habits for their kids. Screen time, however, can be an important and engaging part…

© 2018. All Rights Reserved. | PresenceLearning makes live, online special education related services available to K-12 students around the country — and world. As the leader in the delivery of clinical services via the web, PresenceLearning has provided over one million sessions of speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral interventions and mental health services, assessments, and early childhood services.