Transcript from Get a Grip on Online OT Q&A

Due to laryngitis, our scheduled SPEDcast, “Get a Grip on Online OT,” was cancelled this morning. Instead, our presenters, OT Advisor to PresenceLearning Robyn Chu and OT Clinical Coordinator Elizabeth Haas, joined VP of Marketing Katie Povejsil in an online Q & A session, fielding questions from the many Special Education Directors, Special Education Coordinators, and Occupational Therapists who stayed with us for an informative chat. Stay tuned for a video of the presentation as soon as Robyn’s voice recovers! It is highly informative and expands upon many of the questions asked in the transcript below.

Our presenters:

Robyn Chu
Robyn Chu holds a masters degree in occupational therapy and is a registered and licensed occupational therapist, and is the OT advisor to PresenceLearning. Her experience includes Shriners Hospital in Sacramento and the El Dorado County Office of Education as the Lead Occupational Therapist. She has completed Level 1 and 2 mentorship programs through the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation in Colorado and has been successfully treating SPD for several years using the techniques and research taught through the SPD Foundation.
Elizabeth Haas
Elizabeth Haas is the OT Clinical Coordinator for PresenceLearning. She has been providing OT services with us since 2012. She previously provided OT services in Indiana, California and North Carolina in a variety of settings.

KATIE POVEJSIL: Hello Everyone – Welcome!

ROBYN CHU: I am sorry for the change of plans. I am happy to answer any questions you have.

KATIE POVEJSIL: Our presenter Robyn Chu has lost her voice! Both Robyn and Elizabeth will answer your questions here. We will record the presentation and send you a link ASAP so you can hear the whole thing.

KATIE POVEJSIL: We are sorry for any inconvenience.

CHRISTINE S: Sorry Robyn, how did you lose your voice?

ROBYN CHU: I got that yucky cold going around and then I thought I was all better and started working with my students again. My vocal chords got mad after too much talking, laughing and singing. 🙂

KATIE POVEJSIL: Welcome Julie! Do you have any questions for Robyn and Elizabeth?

JULIE S: Not right away. I am new to the school district and just trying to figure out how to accommodate everyone’s needs with limited time.

KATIE POVEJSIL: Julie – are you an OT?


ROBYN CHU: That is a challenge to figure out! Time management, planning, consulting with teachers… it is a tricky but rewarding job!

KATIE POVEJSIL: In addition to doing in-person OT with kids, Robyn has been doing online sessions for several years.

ROBYN CHU: Yes, it has made therapy possible for students that would not have received services otherwise.

ELIZABETH HAAS: Hi Julie! We often split caseloads with on the ground therapists for just that reason!  Never enough time to service everyone who needs us.

KATIE POVEJSIL: Elizabeth is an OT who also has extensive in-person as well as online experience.

JULIE S: What age group do you work with and what types of activities do you do online? What evaluation protocols do you use?

ELIZABETH HAAS: All ages. My activities are just the same online as in-person: manipulatives, gross motor work, puzzles, keyboarding work, etc.

ELIZABETH HAAS: Evals are the same too. A standardized portion as well as teacher and parent interviews, and an observation of functional school skills.

JULIE S: So who works with the kids? Are they working individually or in groups?

ELIZABETH HAAS: Individually or in groups with an adult support person such as a paraprofessional to facilitate.

JULIE S: A teacher or a teacher’s aide? How did you get the school district to pay for this? Can you bill medicaid for the services?

ROBYN CHU: It depends on the school setting, for homeschool families, the parent facilitates. In a brick and mortar school, a paraprofessional often supports.

ROBYN CHU: This costs less than getting in trouble for not providing services and the paraprofessional can facilitate multiple sessions at the same time. That way it is not as time consuming for them.  Also, as you know, some students already have a paraprofessional with them most of the day. 🙂

ELIZABETH HAAS: Yes, depending on the school site, Medicaid can be billed.

KATIE POVEJSIL: Hi Everyone! We will be showing a very short video at 10 past the hour. Stay tuned and ask questions here!!

JONAH C: What percentage of your OT students can you typically serve online?

ROBYN CHU: We have been surprised to find that many students make progress on their goals with online OT and benefit from this delivery model. If I had to guess it would be over 70% of students that have OT on their IEP.

ELIZABETH HAAS: I have been doing telepractice for 2 years now. In that time, I have learned so much and feel like I would want to at least try online therapy for every student. Now I may decide after trying, it is possible that I would determine it is not a good fit. But I would want to at least give it a shot with every student.

ROBYN CHU: Good point!

JONATHAN S: Can you perform evaluations?

ELIZABETH HAAS: Yes we can and do perform evaluations.

ELIZABETH HAAS: Our evaluations contain a standardized portion as well teacher/parent interviews.  We also do a clinical observation of functional school skills. It is the same evaluation that I would do on site.

DENEEN M: Hello! Has this service delivery model been tried with the 0-3 population?  If so, has it been successful?

ROBYN CHU: It has been tried and done successfully up in Washington. We provided consultative services and caregiver education and support to families who had no access to early intervention services.

ROBYN CHU: The families felt empowered and kids made progress!

ROBYN CHU: We are careful to make sure that this is right placement for each child and some children need more intensive early intervention services.

ROBYN CHU: It can be direct or consultative 🙂

AMY D: Hello! Thank you for providing information to us. What age group and skill level works best with this type of delivery model?

ELIZABETH HAAS: Online therapy has been successful with all ages. I even service high school kids who need assistance with vocational type skills.

KATIE POVEJSIL: Hi All – You can check out all our videos at /resources/videos/

KATIE POVEJSIL: We will share a complete transcript of this Q & A after this session.

AMBER G: Where do the visuals come from? Is there a database with these in it or is it something the individual therapist has?

ROBYN CHU: Great question! There is a large database of visuals and resources!

ROBYN CHU: It grows daily as therapists add in their own ideas.

ROBYN CHU: This creates a community of therapists supporting each other 🙂

KATIE POVEJSIL: Amber – great question. PresenceLearning has a large database of content available for therapists to use. Therapists can also upload their favorite things. And they can access the web for materials like YouTube videos. So there is a huge range of options.

KATIE POVEJSIL: Lots of examples at /resources/videos/

AMBER G: How flexible is scheduling? Is there a minimum number of students for caseloads?

ROBYN CHU: Scheduling is flexible because we are providing services to kids around the world!

ELIZABETH HAAS: Scheduling is very flexible because many therapists are available for an entire school day. There are not hours lost due to travel between school sites.

ROBYN CHU: There is not a minimum number of students for a caseload.

JONATHAN S: Can the therapy be provided at more than one site at a time?

ELIZABETH HAAS: Great question! Yes, more than one student can enter the same therapy room. We can do group therapy with students across the country!

JONATHAN S: Thanks very much.

CHRISTINE S: How do you communicate with parents, teachers, and other staff?

ROBYN CHU: We email and call them. 🙂 This works out well since they are often busy during the school day when we would be either pushing in to provide services or pulling a student out of class 🙂

ELIZABETH HAAS: I also often ask teachers, principals, or other school staff to log in to observe a session with their students.  I think this is helpful for them to see what we do in action.

KIM: Hello. Licenses are required for each of the states we are servicing, students in, correct? Not just the state where we are physically located?

ELIZABETH HAAS: Yes, you will need a license in every state that you are servicing students in.

KATIE POVEJSIL: Kim, that is correct. All PresenceLearning OTs are licensed in their home state as well as cross-licensed in any state they deliver services.

KIM: Thank you

AMY D: Do you also provide private therapy services?

KATIE POVEJSIL: Yes we do. We serve a number of private clients.

KATIE POVEJSIL: Any more questions from the audience?  We are going to wrap up now.

KATIE POVEJSIL: Last chance to ask live questions …

ROBYN CHU: Thank you for logging in. I look forward to talking with you all and sharing more information on the recorded webinar coming soon. 🙂

KATIE POVEJSIL: Thanks to Robyn and Elizabeth!  Robyn – we hope you recover soon!

ROBYN CHU: Thank you!

KATIE POVEJSIL:Good bye everyone.  Thanks for joining us today.