Can you tell us a little about how you collaborate with teachers and other school staff members?
Primarily email is the way that we communicate. We are able to touch base with each other about IEPs, concerns, progress reports, and any other important information regarding each student.
How do you build trust and rapport with parents?
I call parents to introduce myself, send them an introductory letter about myself, and then communicate about ways to help their child reach their goals. Typically email is the main way that we communicate.
Describe how you work with the Primary Support Person to support your students during therapy sessions, particularly those with more significant needs.
I’m in an all remote school, so the children are home. If it’s a younger student, the parent stays there. I find with my older students, they usually just have the headphones on and the parents are in the background. They don’t really need the parent or caregiver there as much. But each student has a case manager so that’s like their support person. Regular email is usually the best way that we get in touch with each other. So if anything needs to be updated with the IEP, or if we need to touch base about anything, I go to the case manager.
How would you address any questions or concerns from a school considering teletherapy about how to successfully address goal areas like apraxia of speech, or students with more severe needs?
I’m a visual person. What helped me the most was really seeing a lot of the demonstrations and the videos so just seeing teletherapy in action, seeing the features and all the things that you could do.
With a lot of my articulation students when I was working in person, I would use a mirror for them to see how their lips are being placed. Let’s just say they’re doing the sound for “f”—the mirror helped them to see if their teeth were going to their bottom lip for “f” like they’re supposed to. I would call their attention to how they are articulating the sound with the mirror. Now, we have the camera that let’s them see themselves. So honestly, it’s like having a little mirror right there.
There are so many things that you don’t realize until you actually see it, or do it. In the training, the clips and videos we watched were really helpful. Seeing a demonstration of all the different things you can do really helps. I feel like that really enhances your therapy. The platform is so well planned out and organized. If a student is getting distracted by the camera, you can turn that off, too, so you can really tailor it to each child. And there are so many resources—I can always find what I need. I’ll look at what their goal is and then I find a resource that matches that all the time.
What advice would you give districts considering online therapy?
Online therapy is flexible and effective. There are so many motivating materials available online and students are responding positively and making progress online.