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Yuma Elementary School District One in Arizona Wins National Award for its Use of Online Therapy with Students with Special Needs

, Primary Category: Press Releases

SAN FRANCISCO, October 31, 2017 – PresenceLearning, the leading telehealth network of live, online special education related service providers, recently named Yuma Elementary School District One in Yuma, AZ as a winner of its 4th annual Awards of Excellence. The awards recognized 12 educational organizations nationwide for their outstanding organizational leadership, teamwork, and improved outcomes in helping students with special needs succeed.

Yuma Elementary School District One, which provides special education services to more than 1,000 students, first partnered with PresenceLearning in spring 2016 to cover an unexpected mid-year staffing vacancy for occupational therapy. The district needed a fully credentialed occupational therapist to work with on-the-ground certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs) in providing day-to-day therapy to students.

“We were in a bind – we needed to quickly fill the vacancy and provide our assistants with required supervision, but were unable to find an on-site occupational therapist,” said Shannon Rouff, M.Ed, Director of Exceptional Student Services at Yuma Elementary School District One. “PresenceLearning came in and provided a viable solution that helped our assistants and students alike. As such, our partnership has continued to grow year after year.”

During the 2016-17 school year, the district expanded its use of PresenceLearning to provide direct online occupational therapy (OT) to PreK students and students with autism, as well as speech-language therapy to approximately 120 students in grades K-8. This school year, the district is using PresenceLearning to provide a combination of direct speech and occupational therapy services – primarily for middle school students – and supervision of on-site speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs). PresenceLearning is also helping the district’s on-site speech therapy team provide bilingual assessments to English Language Learners (ELL).

“Our goal is to provide our students with special needs the services and supports they need to succeed,” said Rouff. “To be successful, it takes a village and the collaborative partnership between PresenceLearning’s team and our entire staff – from our on-site therapists and assistants to technical support team – has been such a positive experience and true benefit to our students.”

The 12 PresenceLearning Awards of Excellence winners were selected based on positive student progress and engagement, strong organizational leadership, informed parental support, and standout partnership and collaboration during the 2016-17 school year. Each winner will receive a plaque and their story will be featured on PresenceLearning’s website.

“The leaders and staff at these educational organizations, including Yuma Elementary School District One, have shown remarkable commitment and vision by embracing a new way to serve students with special needs,” said Clay Whitehead, CEO and co-founder of PresenceLearning. “Their dedication enables students to make significant progress on their goals in a supportive environment and we are honored to recognize them for their leadership.”

About PresenceLearning

PresenceLearning ( 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.


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