WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 27, 2023)–Presence, a leading solution for PreK–12 remote evaluation and teletherapy services, joined national education leaders and researchers at the U.S. Department of Education’s 9th Annual ED Games Expo to share how K-12 schools are leveraging teletherapy to meet the increasing demand for mental health services, particularly in rural communities that often lack the same access to services as schools in urban settings.
Presence was invited to participate in the event as an exemplar recipient of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES)’s Small Business Innovation Research grant. Awarded a decade ago, the grant enabled the development of a prototype teletherapy platform, which has since become a widely-used virtual therapy platform. Since that grant, Presence pioneered the delivery of remote psychoeducational assessments and was the first to conduct research to determine equivalency of remote administration.
The ED Games Expo is the annual public showcase of game-changing education technology innovations that have been supported by initiatives across IES and the U.S. Department of Education (ED).
“Every year, IES funds transformational education technology that builds capacity for the edtech ecosystem and creates rich learning experiences for students that improve learning,” said IES Director Mark Schneider. “At a time when the demand for mental health and other therapy services is at an all-time high and as school systems across the country grapple with widespread staffing shortages, Presence’s virtual teletherapy platform is the kind of innovation we want to encourage through our grantmaking at IES.”
The Presence therapy platform is designed by clinicians, for clinicians, with the goal of enhancing human connection between a therapist and their student in every session. For 15 years Presence has been advancing its technology platform to meet the needs of clinicians across many disciplines, starting with speech language pathologists and occupational therapists, then expanding to school psychologists and mental health professionals.
To date, over 9,000 schools in 47 states have partnered with Presence to expand their clinical capacity and serve more students with diverse needs. By using Presence’s network of clinicians to provide secure, efficient, and engaging online therapy solutions, schools have been able to reduce heavy caseloads and help more students reach their IEP and mental health goals. Presence has conducted 6 million therapy sessions for students across the U.S. and continues to advance technologies that help schools and clinicians assess and address student special education and mental health needs.
“Investing in innovation is one critical part of solving the problem in special education,” said Presence CEO Kate Ebrle Walker. ”The Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences’ support for emerging and innovative forms of learning is important for this industry. We’re grateful for their recognition of our early potential and hope that our story and ongoing growth is an inspiration to fellow innovators in this space who share our vision to ensure no child lacks the therapy services they need.”
At the event, Presence highlighted how its platform is being used by rural communities, specifically. Rural communities have long faced challenges in providing access to comprehensive and high-quality mental health services for students. Even with the influx of pandemic-era stimulus funds, rural schools were less likely to spend on school-based mental health services than their non-rural counterparts. Teletherapy can be—and already has been—used by rural communities to reduce barriers to care for underserved students.
Presence’s Vice President of Communications Megan Scavuzzo participated in a panel discussion alongside Jillian Balow, a former state superintendent in Wyoming and Virginia, and Sasha Pudelski, director of advocacy for The School Superintendents Association. The session was moderated by Kara Arundel, senior reporter at K-12 Dive.
Inspired to drive solutions for the national shortage of school clinicians, Presence is unlocking the potential of schools and clinicians by removing traditional barriers to success through an elevated approach to teletherapy. As a trusted leader since 2009, Presence is innovating how schools assess and address student special education and mental health needs. By equipping the largest network of teletherapy providers with award-winning technology and end-to-end clinical support, Presence is meeting the needs of schools, students, and clinicians today—wherever they are. With 6 million remote evaluations and teletherapy sessions conducted throughout the U.S., schools and clinicians trust the experience and expertise of Presence, a pioneer in school-based teletherapy. Presence is teletherapy, elevated.
Vice President of Communications & Public Relations