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Growth and gratitude: Presence honors grant from Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences

When Presence was founded in 2009, we envisioned a world where no child lacks the therapy services they need. This inspired us to explore the potential of leveraging virtual therapy to create more access for students in need of speech-language services.

In 2010, we were honored to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences. This grant supported the development of our own teletherapy platform prototype, which fulfilled our dream of creating a virtual therapy experience that was engaging and dynamic for both students and clinicians.

About the Institute of Education Sciences

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the U.S. Department of Education’s independent, nonpartisan statistics, research, and evaluation arm. They have worked with countless educators, parents, policymakers and more to transform education sciences and improve outcomes for all learners.

Every year, IES funds game-changing education technology that builds capacity for the edtech ecosystem and creates rich learning experiences for students.

Our journey

Building the platform

We have always believed that technology should enhance, not replace, the human connections between educators and students. Built by clinicians, for clinicians, our platform functionality covers the full spectrum of a provider’s work–from case management to planning to therapy delivery to documentation. This is what sets our technology apart and allows us to simulate the in-person therapy dynamic, even when a clinician may be miles away from the student they are serving.

Pioneering remote psychoeducational assessments

In 2016, we pioneered the delivery of remote psychoeducational assessments on our platform. We partnered with the top publishers including Pearson and Riverside Insights to develop remote modalities for assessments. Presence was the first to conduct research to determine equivalency of remote administration. Our platform was used to conduct two studies on the remote administration of the Woodcock-Johnson IV Cognitive and Achievement and Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fifth Edition assessments.

Now, as the leading provider of online psychoeducational evaluations, we draw on a comprehensive  library of digital assessments to deliver comprehensive evaluations that look at each child and their unique needs.

Empowering clinicians with Kanga

In 2020 we launched Therapy Essentials, our modern therapy platform that helps school districts, independent practitioners and agencies provide best-in-class, personalized therapy to each student, either onsite or remotely. This tool gave thousands of districts the ability to offer continuity of services during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. We learned a lot from the thousands of clinicians using our tool and incorporated their feedback by adding case management features to the platform and renaming it Kanga in 2022. Our innovative tools are designed to streamline therapy planning, execution and documentation so that clinicians can focus on the work they love, spending time, face to face, with the children who need them.

The Presence platform is great to have because it makes everyone’s professional jobs easier,” said Heidi O’Leary, director of special services at Maine School Administrative District 75 in Topsham, Maine. “Some were struggling with lesson plans and being able to have resources at their fingertips so being able to pull it all together via the platform is huge.

Engaging students everywhere

With thousands of digital learning resources, games and activities, our platform’s interactive content library helps clinicians create fun, dynamic therapy sessions. Our HIPAA and FERPA-compliant platform is built specifically to support virtual therapy. We partner with top publishers to ensure clinicians have fan-favorite content at their fingertips. Familiar technology and thousands of exciting, interactive games and activities help students connect, learn and grow, anytime, anywhere.

Expanding our impact

From a prototype technology platform built for Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), we’ve expanded our proprietary virtual therapy platform into an award-winning, multidisciplinary therapeutic resource for students and clinicians across the U.S.

Since receiving the grant from the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences, Presence has enhanced its support to include occupational therapy, as well as mental and behavioral health counseling. Presence is committed to innovating how schools and clinicians assess and address student special education and mental health needs.

To date, Presence has partnered with over 9,000 schools, conducting almost 6 million therapy sessions for students across the United States. Our 2,000+ Speech-Language Pathologists, occupational therapists, school psychologists, social workers and education diagnosticians that live across 43 states are fulfilling their desire to help students everywhere.

Investing in innovation is one critical part of solving the ongoing challenge of providing access to special education,” said Kate Eberle Walker, CEO of Presence. ”The Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences support for emerging and innovative forms of learning is important for our industry. We’re grateful for their recognition of our early potential and hope that our story and growth is an inspiration to fellow innovators in this space who share our vision to ensure no child lacks the therapy services they need.

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