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Presence Spotlight for Schools: Cassondra Righter, M.A., CCC-SLP

A Skeptical Clinician Transformed

Can you tell us a little about how you collaborate with teachers and other school staff members?

I have used the phone, video calls, emails, and the platform to collaborate! I am still able to collaborate without physically reporting to a building. When I did report to a building I had to run around to several places so I didn’t have time to collaborate. Now I do! I enjoy being a member of the team!

What has your experience been completing evaluations via the Presence platform? How would you address any hesitation providers or schools might have about this evaluation modality?

I will say that I went into this as a complete skeptic. Initially I didn’t understand how therapy could be effective online, let alone how to evaluate students online. But I had never experienced Presence, and how they do things. There are a ton of teletherapy companies out there and I did work for one briefly in the past, and it was not like Presence. This company is set apart, because everything is so seamless—I don’t have to submit or keep track of an invoice and turn it in to someone, and then they approve it. The billing is all together, the evaluations are there, and it is an accurate representation of all the students’ communication skills. Even though we’re online, it is just like I am there in the physical building.

And for evaluations, that’s when the support person also comes in. I typically have a conversation with them, and walk them through the evaluation. There are a few districts that actually have the same physical copies of the test kits I use for Presence. I can have that person go and grab those, so if I have a student who might need to see something physical like a picture, and maybe a camera isn’t appropriate, they’re able to flip the pages for me. It’s very different.

I have personally seen students make gains with teletherapy, especially using the Presence platform. I would also just say teletherapy has been in our field for over 20 years. So it’s not a new technology. People think it came on the scene because of COVID-19.

What advice would you give districts considering online therapy?

I had my doubts about telehealth but it really works! This service delivery model has been around for many years! I’m a trained teletherapist with the support of an amazing company!

I would just add that as someone who did teletherapy in brick-and-mortar, and now someone who works for a company, my skill set is completely different. I have gotten training on teletherapy now through the company, but also I’m a member of our crediting body, the American Speech Language Association, ASHA. I have taken CEUs specifically on teletherapy, so the full skill set and training is unique.

And even though in the field of speech pathology there are a lot of things you can go into, I think the clinicians you’re going to get from this company are going to be top notch because of the training that Presence gives them, and also because they really care about you as a person. So you have happy clinicians who are going to want to service your kids.

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