By Elizabeth Haas This is the second post in a three-part series on school-based occupational therapy for sensory integration issues. You can read the first post here, where I provide an overview of sensory integration issues.  L. is a student who not only inspired me, but taught me that working online with children who have sensory integration needs is possible. When I met L., she was eight years old and in the third grade. When she started school in kindergarten, she attended a brick and mortar school, but she suffered so many traumatic experiences there that her parents switched her to a virtual school. L.’s needs were so severe and led to so many scary experiences for her and her family that she actually stopped…

By Elizabeth Haas This is the first post in a three-part series on school-based occupational therapy for sensory integration issues. When I first started providing online occupational therapy (OT) services to students online several years ago, I thought it might be difficult to work on certain types of goals in an online environment, particularly those related to a student’s sensory integration needs. In the second and third posts in this series, I will share a case study about a student who opened my eyes in many regards, as well some specific ways occupational therapists work with students, families, and support teams on sensory integration. To kick off the series, however, let’s discuss what is meant by the term sensory integration. Simply put, sensory integration refers…

Every May, ASHA‘s Better Hearing & Speech Month raises awareness about communication disorders and the role of ASHA members in providing intervention. The 2017 theme is “Communication: The Key to Connection.” We couldn’t agree more – proper communication is the key to connection! It’s the foundational skill supporting children’s relationships with families, friends and educators; their learning in the classroom; and their ongoing success. Because of this, speech-language pathologists and audiologists play a CRUCIAL role in students’ lives. Their diligent evaluations and thoughtful intervention strategies can most certainly change a student’s life for the better. Our online clinicians work hard year-round, but we most certainly will share our thanks for them this month! How do you plan on showing your gratitude and spreading awareness? ASHA…

SeekFreaks is a new online resource for clinicians covering topics related to school-based practice, and was started by Carlo Vialu, who formerly oversaw physical therapy services for the New York City Department of Education, and Dr. Laurie Ray, an Associate Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.  In a recent interview with Jen Kenney, a CCC-SLP with PresenceLearning who has practiced online for the last five of her 17 years of experience, Carlo and Jen unpacked everything a fellow SLP might want to know about teletherapy (also known as telehealth and telepractice), as well as what districts might want to better understand about this mode of delivery.  Check out highlights of Jen’s interview in the infographic below, or click here for the full interview.  

Working from home as a school-based online SLP, OT, or mental health professional has many benefits as well as its own unique challenges. According to a recent survey of PresenceLearning clinicians, working from home and setting one’s own schedule were some of the top reasons for making a career shift to teletherapy. Once clinicians begin their online practice, reasons for liking teletherapy shift to being able to serve kids who might not otherwise have access to quality care, using the PresenceLearning online therapy platform, and the sense of community and support that comes from being part of the PresenceLearning network. In a recent post, CCC-SLP and Senior Clinical Consultant Karin H. Koukeyan presented tips for setting up an organized and distraction-free workspace in the home. Now we…

By Karin H. Koukeyan Working from home as a teletherapy provider provides a multitude of conveniences by allowing a flexible work schedule. However, there is an ongoing challenge faced by individuals who choose a work-from-home lifestyle. Balancing your professional life with your personal life continues to be an ongoing stressor for many. This obstacle can be easily overcome with a few simple organizational tips. By designating a dedicated workspace that is clutter-free, you can maximize your effectiveness as a teletherapist and make an even bigger impact in the lives of many students. Choose the ideal space. Of course, the best scenario would be to have a separate, dedicated room that is exclusively used as a home office. However, this option may not be realistic for the…

By Karin H. Koukeyan For the past couple of months, we’ve explored topics related to working with bilingual populations including how to determine when a bilingual evaluation is necessary and best practices for working with an interpreter. In this third and final installment, we will deep dive into specific tips on gathering information for an interpreter. These tips are applicable whether you are using an interpreter for an assessment, at an IEP meeting, or during a therapy session. Thoughtful planning prior to the session coupled with specific strategies during and after the session will ensure a successful experience in working with interpreters. Interpreting is a dynamic process and clear communication is key. Prior to the Session It is important to meet with the interpreter in advance…

By Karin H. Koukeyan As Speech-Language Pathologists, we work with individuals from diverse backgrounds. It is no surprise that the numbers of English Language Learners (ELL) is increasing all over the United States. During the course of our careers, we will encounter students who speak many different languages. Although one of the most common languages spoken by these bilingual students is likely to be Mandarin or Spanish, there are hundreds of languages being spoken. Despite the increasing number of speech-language pathologists who can provide bilingual services, it is unrealistic that there will be a match for every student. The second best option in those instances is to work with a trained language interpreter. However, if we are lucky enough to find an interpreter, most of…

By Karin H. Koukeyan “Joey” is a five-year old student with Down syndrome, who is nonverbal and primarily uses signing with some vocalizations to communicate. You are the teletherapist assigned to his school site and on the first day of therapy, the school staff voices major concerns about Joey participating in speech and language services via telepractice. They are particularly concerned about losing valuable time in his development to make a difference in his speech and language growth. How do you proceed? Telepractice continues to be a relatively new delivery mode for special education services. There is a growing body of evidence to support that telepractice services do make a significant impact in the lives of many individuals. Despite the research and data, there are…

By Karin H. Koukeyan The Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting is an essential part of the special education experience for school professionals. It allows members of the entire team to come together and develop a plan that focuses on the individual student’s needs. But wait a minute, you say. I’m not an in-person service provider. I’m not physically in the school building like everyone else. How am I supposed to participate in this team process, let alone lead the meeting? Rest assured, our veteran online providers have put together a foolproof guide on leading a successful IEP meeting when you attend virtually. Arrange good connectivity. Whenever possible, arrange to attend the IEP meeting through videoconferencing, preferably on the same platform the student uses. Attending the call…

© 2017. 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.