Expanding districts’ options for assessing students so speech-language therapy can start sooner
SAN FRANCISCO, October 2, 2013 – Getting students evaluated for speech-language services at the start of the school year is a time-consuming process, especially when speech-language pathologists are in short supply. The persistent nationwide shortage of highly trained experts can mean that much-needed services for students may be delayed as districts scramble to meet the demand for time-intensive assessments. To help address this issue, PresenceLearning, the leader in online speech therapy services for K-12 students, has partnered with Western Psychological Services (WPS) to add the Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language (CASL) to PresenceLearning’s growing repertoire of online assessments. The CASL further expands PresenceLearning’s capability to administer the most commonly used assessment tools for identifying speech-language disorders. The CASL is a standardized assessment that measures semantic, syntactic, literal, figurative and social aspects of oral language in children ages 3 to 16.
In many school districts, students in need of intervention services must wait for an available SLP to conduct an initial evaluation, write recommendations and specify goals for the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). Similarly, students who have completed their speech-language goals require an evaluation before they can be dismissed from therapy and may continue to receive therapy until an SLP is available to administer the necessary exit evaluation. PresenceLearning’s ability to provide SLPs who can do evaluations online helps students get the services they need as quickly as possible and helps districts improve their efficiency by dismissing students who have reached their goals from services.
“Before using PresenceLearning, we had many more students than we should in speech-language therapy,” said Dustine Borges, chief psychologist and director of Special Education for Fowler Unified School District. “During our first year of working with PresenceLearning, we put 110 students in online speech therapy and we ended the year with about 53 students remaining in therapy. We were able to shrink our over-identification caseload very quickly. In our second year with PresenceLearning, we have been able to better manage our entrances and exits into the speech therapy program and we have managed to maintain a high exit rate.”
The CASL is a standardized assessment that measures literal, figurative and social aspects of language. Ideal for assessing students with suspected expressive and/or receptive language disorders as well as pragmatic difficulties, the CASL identifies students’ strengths and weaknesses in language processing skills and structural knowledge, allowing SLPs to clearly identify specific areas of need. It can be used from ages 3-16. The CASL also satisfies the Individuals with Disabilities Special Education Act (IDEA) requirements for identifying language impairment because it provides age-based norms.
Since 2009, PresenceLearning’s online speech therapy services have provided schools with a practical, affordable new option for service delivery: web-based access to a nationwide network of live, highly qualified, fully licensed speech-language pathologists who are available whenever and wherever they are needed. In 2012, PresenceLearning added occupational therapy (OT) to their service offering. By partnering with PresenceLearning, school districts can fill staffing gaps related to acute and chronic SLP and OT shortages, reduce high caseloads and workloads for onsite personnel, and improve student outcomes and overall program efficiency. PresenceLearning also offers access to technical specialists, as well as culturally and linguistically diverse speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists.
As the new 2013-2014 starts, PresenceLearning has delivered more than 250,000 live online therapy sessions in public, charter and virtual school districts of all sizes nationwide.
PresenceLearning (www.presencelearning.com) is the leading telehealth network of providers of clinical services and assessments to educational organizations. The PresenceLearning care network has provided over one million sessions of live, online speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral interventions and mental health services, diagnostic services and assessments, and early childhood services for children with special needs.
Katie Povejsil, Vice President of Marketing, PresenceLearning
Christine Allman, Public Relations for PresenceLearning