Parent Resources

Q. What does PresenceLearning do?

PresenceLearning is the leading provider of live, online special education services for K-12 students. This includes online speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral and mental health services, and assessments. We offer schools “anytime, anywhere” access to our nationwide network of highly qualified service providers, including speech-language pathologists (SLPs), occupational therapists (OTs), school psychologists, and school social workers. These service providers work directly with students via web-based videoconferencing, using a vast library of online tools and activities that are customizable based on the student’s goals and their current classroom curriculum.

Q. How does PresenceLearning help?

An increasing shortage of service providers in many parts of the country has made it difficult for schools to provide adequate services for children with special needs. These service providers often have caseloads that are too high, which can affect the quality and consistency of therapy—and some students may not receive much-needed therapy at all. This shortage has also driven up the cost of these services and puts a heavy burden on overstretched school budgets and personnel, who must spend an inordinate amount of time searching for—and managing—scarce clinical resources. In some cases, schools are simply unable to provide sufficient services to students and fall short of federal mandates.

With PresenceLearning, students gain immediate, flexible access to fully credentialed SLPs, OTs, and behavior and mental health professionals—providing consistent, high quality therapy to students and freeing school districts from the time-consuming hassle of recruiting these personnel. Schools partner with PresenceLearning to reduce caseloads for their staff—and to improve student outcomes. To date, PresenceLearning has delivered over 1,000,000 successful sessions of live, online therapy to students in public, charter, and virtual schools nationwide.

Parent Welcome Letters

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Speech Therapy – English
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Speech Therapy – Spanish
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Occupational Therapy – English
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Occupational Therapy – Spanish
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Behavioral & Mental Health – English
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Behavioral & Mental Health – Spanish
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Psychoeducational Assessments – English
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Psychoeducational Assessments – Spanish
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Q. How does live, online therapy work?

Online therapy is very similar to traditional, in-person sessions—except that instead of sitting in the same room, students and service providers interact via live videoconferencing. PresenceLearning professionals work face-to-face with students in real time, using established best practices and assisted by our best-in-class online tools. PresenceLearning recruits only the best clinicians, and ensures that they are fully credentialed in your state. Our service providers handle scheduling, and the school provides an on-site support person who brings the student to their therapy session, assists with technical or behavioral needs during the session, and may model or demonstrate a skill for the student at the direction of the service provider.

Q. Is online therapy as good as on-site?

Compared with national norms, PresenceLearning students make better progress and many complete their IEP (Individualized Education Program) goals more quickly. Published research studies demonstrate the effectiveness of teletherapy, and leading professional organizations recognize the benefit of delivering therapy services online, including: Mayo Clinic, American Speech- Language Hearing Association (ASHA), American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), American Psychological Association (APA), National Association of Social Workers (NASW), American Counseling Association (ACA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).

In addition, by providing schools with access to an experienced and diverse pool of service providers, PresenceLearning enables a better match between child and therapist. For example, it is much easier to locate a specialist with the appropriate linguistic or cultural background to suit a diverse group of students. School districts that have adopted PresenceLearning have found our solution appropriate for the majority of students.

Q. What are the benefits for children and their families?

  • Improved student outcomes. Data shows that students who received online speech therapy beat the national averages set by students who received traditional on-site speech therapy:

    • 66% of telepractice students improved their spoken language production by one level or more, compared to 50% of the students in the nationally-normed NOMS data set
    • 69% of telepractice students improved their spoken language comprehension by one level or more during the school year, compared to 60% of the students in NOMS data
    • 77% of students improved their speech sound production by one level or more during the school year, compared to 75% of the students in NOMS data

  • Kids love it. Today’s kids have grown up with technology, and in many cases prefer the online environment. They are extremely comfortable with computers, and love our fun, game-based activities. Sometimes, students find the online experience less intimidating than on-site interactions.
  • Parents are happier when their kids are happier. All parties are consistently very satisfied with therapeutic outcomes.
  • Better communication. PresenceLearning’s online tools enable parents to log in and observe online sessions, and service providers actively communicate with districts and parents via email and telephone, as well as via videoconferencing using the clinician’s virtual “room.”

Q. Why is my district using online therapy?

Districts use online therapy services for a variety of reasons. School districts large and small choose online therapy to provide consistent services to their students, to reduce high caseloads and workloads for their staff, and—in geographically spread out areas—to reduce staff member “windshield time,” enabling them to spend more time with students. Teletherapy is also a perfect solution for when a specialist is needed, such as a service provider who speaks a particular language or has specific expertise.

Q. Who are your service providers?

We contract with a large and growing network of more than 700 highly qualified, fully credentialed clinical service providers. PresenceLearning SLPs are required to have a Master’s degree from an accredited U.S. program; our OTs are required to have a grandfathered Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate degree; and our behavioral and mental health professionals all have Master’s degrees and are fully licensed. All PresenceLearning service providers are required to have experience working in schools. We currently hire only 6% of the professionals who apply to work with us, and our team rigorously screens all applicants via extensive interviews and detailed reviews of their experience, credentials, and qualifications. All our service providers are given professional development on successfully using the platform. As such, when you partner with PresenceLearning, you gain instant access to the nation’s top professionals.

Q. Is live, online therapy appropriate for all situations?

Online services are both appropriate and beneficial for the majority of situations.

Q. How does PresenceLearning ensure consistent service?

Your child will be assigned to an individual service provider who is responsible for his or her ongoing therapy. This continuity promotes a trusting and consistent relationship among your child, parents, teachers, and the service provider. In the event that your child needs a new professional for any reason, PresenceLearning facilitates a rapid transition with minimal disruption.

Q. What about session privacy?

The PresenceLearning teletherapy environment supports FERPA and COPPA privacy and security guidelines. Other than the student and authorized PresenceLearning personnel, no one can enter the online therapy room without permission. The same security used to protect online financial systems is used to protect student information and confidentiality. All of our service providers are bound by the same privacy and confidentiality requirements online as they are in an on-site setting.

Q. Can a PresenceLearning service provider also serve as a student’s case manager?

Yes. Our service providers become part of the student’s support team and communicate regularly with teachers, parents, and other members of the child’s IEP team via email or phone calls. Providers who serve as case managers write IEPs, set up meetings, notify all parties, and are responsible for meeting timelines. PresenceLearning service providers are typically given access to the district’s online IEP system to enter student information and progress reports, and attend all IEP meetings virtually—either through a videoconference or telephone conference.

Q. How does PresenceLearning match a service provider with my student?

Service providers are matched with students in the states in which they are licensed based on the type of services needed, hours required, and schedule matching. The assigned provider will see your student each week, and will develop a rapport similar to working together on-site. We have many students, parents, and districts who request the same PresenceLearning provider year after year, and we have bilingual providers who can meet the needs of English Language Learners and American Sign Language students.

Q. How are children and sessions supervised?

An on-site support person (or a parent/learning coach for virtual school students) handles in-person supervision. PresenceLearning helps train these key team members and coordinates with them regularly.

Q. How many children can participate in a session? Can children from multiple locations participate?

Two children can share a single computer for a session led by a single remote service provider. In addition, multi-point videoconferencing enables students to participate from separate locations. Small group sessions can accommodate up to four students, and we can also do full classroom sessions. In these instances, the provider is projected onto a smartboard or screen to conduct full classroom instruction. For example, an OT could conduct a full class handwriting instruction session.

Q. Can I observe my child’s sessions?

Yes. Because our therapy sessions are conducted using our secure web technology, you can observe your child’s sessions should you so desire. All you need is an Internet-connected computer. Many parents find this helpful as it enables them to observe the techniques our clinicians practice with their children so they can continue to reinforce these lessons between or after therapy sessions.

Q. Where is PresenceLearning being used?

PresenceLearning serves a wide range of organizations— in public, charter, and virtual schools—in 43 states. PresenceLearning services have been used in over 1,000,000 sessions with more than 20,000 K-12 students. Customers include: Medford School District (OR), Bonneville School District (ID), Los Angeles Unified School District SELPA (CA), Palm Beach County (FL), Southwest Kansas Area Cooperative District 613 (KS), Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System (MI), Capital Area Intermediate Unit (PA), and hundreds of other locations.

Q. What do school districts and families say about PresenceLearning services?

The feedback we receive is extremely positive. School administrators and special education staff cite benefits such as: higher quality service providers, better student outcomes, easy to use technology, and the high quality of customer support. Students and families report extreme satisfaction.