Tapping Into Knowledge and Building Camaraderie in the PresenceLearning Online Community

Working from home can seem like a scary prospect for clinicians and teachers who are considering telepractice. The good news is that providing services online doesn’t have to mean feeling separated from your colleagues. PresenceLearning’s online SLPs, OTs, special education teachers, and behavioral and mental health professionals are all members of a unique professional networking community made up of nearly 800 interconnected clinicians, teachers, mentors, and support staff.

By sharing stories and ideas, celebrating accomplishments and birthdays, and tapping into the clinical expertise of their colleagues, these professionals are always connected. Many of PresenceLearning’s telepractitioners say they feel like they have more peer support while working online than they ever did in traditional settings. Below are some examples of the types of exchanges these clinicians and teachers have every day.

Getting help with /r/ artic therapy

Allison ClarkeAllison Clarke:
April 14, 2015, 1:40 p.m.

I have a question about /r/ artic therapy. I have a student who is really struggling with correct tongue placement for /r/. I tried to show him pictures and a short video of what it should look like. In the past, when I’ve worked with students in-person, I have used tactile cues. Does anyone have any suggestions or techniques that have worked for you when teaching /r/ through telepractice? Thanks for the help!!


M WilliamsMelissa Williams:
April 14, 2:10 p.m.

I really take advantage of the camera to provide a close-up visual placement cue with /r/. Double-clicking on your picture will expand your image so it takes up the entire screen. With bright lighting, the student will then be able to see a close-up of your mouth. I then show my “square mouth” with teeth biting down, no lip-rounding, and lips out of the way (spread, like smiling). After that, I open wide and show my tongue placement of /r/. It is a two-step visual cue (tongue placement, hold tongue, plus bite down with square mouth). You can come into my online therapy room and I can show you what my virtual visual cues look like. Before I discovered this, I had slow progress with the /r/ sound. But now, /r/ is my friend.

I also use my hand to represent raising the tongue. The fingers are the tongue tip, and the back of the hand represents the back of the tongue. I raise the hand up or down during my production of the word to show the student what the tongue is supposed to be doing. I will use my hand as feedback too. I remind students that the back of the tongue is also raised, not just the tip.

K PurcellKristi Purcell:
April 15, 7:05 a.m.

I get my kids to hold a tongue blade in their mouths between their teeth. That makes it hard for their tongue to drop down. I also give a cue, with my fingers scooping upwards, and make the /r/ sound simultaneously. If they can bite down on the tongue blade and curl up they should get a decent /r/ that they can build. Good luck!


Heaping the praise

T. LeeTraci Lee
April 17 at 12:18 p.m.

Here’s an excellent example of collaboration with onsite personnel! For each of her students, at all of her sites, Megan McGuire contacts the teachers to see how she can ensure that there is carryover into the classroom (see an example of the type of email she sends below). Thanks, Megan for all you do! The extra mile you go for each of your students is absolutely wonderful!!!

“Hi Dawn,

Zack has an IEP goal for using targeted vocabulary words in complete sentences. Are there themes or topics that you are working on in the classroom that I could incorporate into therapy?

Thanks, Megan”

J. WillsJacqui Wills
April 17 at 1:04 p.m.

Way to go, Megan! You’re doing a great job! 🙂

J. HoweJessica Howe
April 17 at 1:04pm

Yay Megan! Awesome work!

Megan McGuireM. McGuire
April 17 at 1:32pm

Thanks, everyone!