FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Online Speech Therapy & SLP Jobs

General Questions

What does PresenceLearning do?

PresenceLearning enables school districts to provide more consistent, high-quality therapy, while freeing them from the costly and time-consuming job of recruiting and managing SLPs and SLPAs (speech language pathology assistants). The result is a double win: improved therapy outcomes AND substantial savings on costs and time, reducing the overall expense of speech therapy programs by 10 percent or more. Our easy-to-use solution runs on standard Internet-connected computers, requires minimal set-up and provides a full suite of tools for scheduling and delivering live online therapy sessions, tracking progress, communicating with teachers and parents, and compliance reporting.

PresenceLearning has delivered over 10,000 successful sessions of live online speech therapy to schools nationwide. To find out how your schools can use telepractice, contact us at schools@presencetelecare.com (415.512.9000).

If you are an SLP, click here to start the application process and find out if working with PresenceLearning might be a good professional move for you. You may also contact us or submit a resume using recruiting@presencelearning.com.

What problems does online speech therapy solve?

  • Cost: IDEA-mandated speech therapy services put a heavy burden on overstretched school budgets and personnel. (IDEA is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.) PresenceLearning removes much of the burden, delivering significant cost and convenience benefits. The company handles recruitment and management of SLPs, ensures that they are properly licensed and/or credentialed to practice in your state, simplifies scheduling and rescheduling, and ensures consistency and availability.
  • Outcomes: Delivering speech therapy via telepractice has been demonstrated as effective in thousands of actual sessions and has been validated by a large body of research. Experience has shown that using PresenceLearning services actually improves outcomes and earns very high satisfaction ratings from schools, parents, and kids (PresenceLearning’s parent surveys show a 90 out of 100 satisfaction rating).
  • Access: School districts often have difficulty hiring and retaining enough qualified, affordable speech therapists to deliver the services their students need to thrive. PresenceLearning provides online access to an anytime, anywhere workforce of speech therapists, alleviating districts’ need to recruit, hire, train, retain and supervise enough SLPs to keep schools compliant with legal mandates. Districts get an affordable, flexible solution to an ongoing staffing headache and kids get the therapy they require in an online environment that they love.

How does the quality of PresenceLearning’s live online therapy compare to traditional in-person speech therapy?

Recent research funded by the Department of Education shows that the PresenceLearning solution yields equal or better outcomes compared to national norms for traditional speech therapy. Using videoconferencing and other technology, our sessions provide excellent visual and audio communication between kids and therapists—as good as or better than in-person therapy—along with a suite of age-appropriate interactive games and activities that enhance the therapy experience.

Online therapy provides greater access to top-quality professionals nationwide and to a more diverse pool of available SLPs, allowing for a better match between child and therapist. For example, it’s much easier to get a specialist or a therapist with the appropriate linguistic or cultural background for diverse groups of students.

School districts that have adopted PresenceLearning have found our solution appropriate for the majority, if not all, of their students needing speech language therapy.

Benefits

What are the benefits of online speech therapy for schools?

  • Flexible access to top-notch SLPs: with PresenceLearning, schools are no longer limited to locally-based SLPs, but can draw from our large nationwide network of highly qualified, certified therapists, available whenever needed. Schools also get better access to specialists and culturally and linguistically diverse SLPs.
  • Better outcomes: the combination of greater access to high-quality SLPs, improved availability and scheduling flexibility, and PresenceLearning’s best-in-class online therapy tools all lead to better results. Positive outcomes are validated by a large body of research.
  • Happier students and parents: having grown up with digital technology, kids love the online video interactions and computerized games and activities. Better outcomes, happier kids, and improved reporting and communications, in turn, lead to very high parent satisfaction levels.
  • Major time and cost savings (10 percent or more of overall program costs): PresenceLearning relieves schools of a huge administrative headache and expense. Districts no longer have to recruit, screen, contract, train, and manage SLPs, pay transportation expenses, or worry about interruptions in therapy when SLPs are absent, on leave or no longer with the district. PresenceLearning handles all these functions while helping to ensure uninterrupted service, thus freeing up money and staff for other educational priorities.
  • Better scheduling, tracking, reporting, and auditing: our integrated set of tools streamlines these essential functions.
  • Extremely easy to set up and use: all that’s required is a computer with an Internet connection, a webcam, and an audio headset (we provide the webcam and headset for free if needed).
  • Acknowledged and accepted by leading agencies, such as the Mayo Clinic and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

What are the benefits for SLPs?

  • Work convenient hours with no need to travel: Our SLPs serve schools and children nationwide while working from home.
  • One point of contact: SLPs contract with PresenceLearning, greatly simplifying paperwork and payment.
  • Leverages SLP’s professional experience, applying typical therapeutic practices in an online environment.
  • Makes data collection and progress monitoring much easier. In contrast to painstaking pen-and-paper record-keeping processes, SLPs can input notes and progress data during sessions with the click of a mouse, streamlining reporting and communications. PresenceLearning SLPs can access these records to review student progress with school administrators, parents, and teachers.
  • Easy-to-manage scheduling for conferences with parents and schools, using our online tools and videoconferencing environment.
  • More time on therapy, less on travel, scheduling, tracking, and reporting.

What are the benefits of online speech therapy for students and parents?

  • Better outcomes. In a recent study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, students working with PresenceLearning showed statistically significant gains in speech production. Compared with national norms, PresenceLearning students make better progress and many complete their IEP (individual education plan) goals faster.
  • Kids love it. Today’s kids have grown up with technology and in many cases prefer the live online environment. They’re really comfortable with computers and love the fun, game-based activities. They often find the experience less intimidating than in-person interactions.
  • Parents are happier when their kids are happier, and extremely satisfied with the better therapeutic outcomes.
  • Better communication and reporting using PresenceLearning’s online tools. Parents can even log in and observe online therapy sessions.

Who is using PresenceLearning for online speech therapy?

Traditional public school districts to virtual and charter school organizations are discovering that PresenceLearning helps them reach more students with consistent, high-quality speech therapy at lower costs. To read success stories from districts that have found success and savings with PresenceLearning, click here.

What distinguishes PresenceLearning from other telepractice solutions?

PresenceLearning is the leading provider of live online speech therapy to America’s schools. We provide access to the largest network of top-tier speech therapists, and the most complete, easy-to-use, and cost-effective solution. We offer SLPs a rich library of online activities for use in therapy sessions, and our complete set of scheduling and progress-tracking functions streamline program administration and compliance reporting.

How does it save money? How much can it save?

By handling recruiting, contracting, on-boarding, training, and supervision of SLPs, PresenceLearning takes a significant administrative load off of school districts. It eliminates the headaches and time drain of dealing with SLP attrition and having to fill vacancies. Our online speech therapy sessions eliminate SLP travel expenses. PresenceLearning simplifies scheduling, automates tracking and reporting, and facilitates auditing and compliance. PresenceLearning yields rapid and dramatic savings, reducing speech program costs by 10 percent (totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in some cases) or more. Contact us at schools@presencetelecare.com (415.512.9000) to get a complimentary report detailing how your school district can save. We’ll analyze the current costs of your speech therapy program and calculate the potential savings with PresenceLearning.

Describe your SLP network.

PresenceLearning contracts with a large and growing network of highly qualified SLPs nationwide (over 100 SLPs at present). We hire the best: we rigorously screen all of our SLPs with extensive interviews and detailed reviews of SLPs’ clinical experience, licenses, and qualifications. All are trained on our platform, and we closely monitor their performance. We handle all contracting and ensure that SLPs are licensed and have all necessary credentials for your state or region. Your school district gets access to top SLPs from all over the country, including specialists in key areas such as stuttering, as well as therapists with a range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds appropriate to diverse student populations. These trained specialists can greatly accelerate a child’s progress. For example, bilingual clinicians can provide highly effective intervention and assessment for English language learners.

How does PresenceLearning ensure consistent service?

Every child is assigned to an individual SLP, who has responsibility for that child’s case and ongoing therapy. This continuity promotes a trusting and consistent relationship among child, parents, teachers, and the SLP. In the event that the child needs a new SLP for any reason, PresenceLearning will facilitate a rapid transition with minimal disruption to the child’s therapy.

What evidence supports telepractice in general and PresenceLearning in particular? What is the response from schools, educators and families?

Telepractice has been in use for nearly 20 years and has been recognized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) since 2005. Telepractice has been found effective by over 40 published, peer-reviewed studies, starting with a landmark paper by the Mayo Clinic in 1997.

PresenceLearning’s solution has been used successfully in close to 20,000 speech therapy sessions to date. A recent analysis sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Education found that PresenceLearning students make better progress and many complete their IEP (individual educations plan) goals more rapidly than national norms. In a recent survey, families reported that they were extremely satisfied, giving PresenceLearning an average approval rating of 90 out of 100.

Does telepractice comply with established standards?

Yes. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has recognized telepractice as an appropriate method of service delivery since 2005, stating that “telepractice is an appropriate model of service delivery for the professions of speech-language pathology [and audiology]. Telepractice may be used to overcome barriers of access to services caused by distance, unavailability of specialists and/or sub-specialists, and impaired mobility.” For more information, see http://www.asha.org/telepractice/

While IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) does not dictate specific service delivery methods, telepractice is accepted as an appropriate way to address many students’ speech and language goals on IEPs (individual education plans). All robust, peer-reviewed academic research on this topic to date indicates that telepractice meets IDEA requirements.

How does it work?

What does PresenceLearning’s online speech therapy solution include?

  • Assignment of a dedicated, thoroughly screened, fully qualified SLP, (or several SLPs, depending on the number of students you have receiving services). We handle all recruiting, contracting, on-boarding, training, scheduling and supervision. School districts have one point of contact for all speech therapy services.
  • Our web-based set of integrated, online tools for scheduling and managing therapy sessions via videoconferencing, delivering interactive games and activities, tracking progress, reporting and communicating with the student’s support team. The system is entirely browser-based, with no software to install or maintain. Set-up is easy, utilizing equipment that schools already have; webcams and headsets are supplied to schools at no extra charge.

Specifically, what equipment and other resources does it require?

  • A PC or Mac set up in a resource room, library, lab, or corner of a classroom.
  • An Internet connection; we will test your connection to make sure the speed is adequate.
  • An up-to-date web browser such as Internet Explorer (v.9+), Safari (v.5), Firefox (v.4+) or Chrome.
  • A webcam and an audio headset with a microphone (both provided by PresenceLearning at no extra charge).
  • A paraprofessional to monitor the session (may not be required with older, more independent students). We provide your paraprofessional(s) with simple training for helping facilitate students’ online sessions.

What’s involved in the set-up for online speech therapy?

Set-up is very easy. Since PresenceLearning’s solution browser-based, there is no software to install. Just make sure the webcam and headset are connected to the computer and log in using the information we provide to launch the session.

What therapy tools and curriculum materials does the PresenceLearning platform provide?

We provide SLPs with a full arsenal of therapy tools and stimuli, including flashcards, games, worksheets, stories and a whiteboard. The stimuli are organized in ways that make sense for clinical SLPs: by phoneme, vocabulary category, age, minimal pairs, phonological patterns, and so forth. SLPs can easily swap out stimuli during a session, allowing them to easily adapt to a child’s changing needs. The platform employs the latest web-based videoconferencing technology, ensuring reliable, high-quality video and audio.

How are the online speech therapy sessions supervised?

In-person supervision (especially for younger students) is generally handled by an on-site paraprofessional. Some older students may not need supervision. Typically the paraprofessional’s responsibilities consist of escorting children to and from the room where the therapy takes place and getting the session started (getting the child seated, adjusting the webcam, etc). Once the session is up and running, the children interact with the SLP, and the paraprofessional can do other work while being on hand to assist if necessary. One paraprofessional can supervise multiple students taking part in several simultaneous sessions or one session together. Training of paraprofessionals is easy and is handled by PresenceLearning. All that’s required is a short on-line training session.

Are sessions monitored for auditing and quality control purposes?

Yes. All sessions are automatically sampled and recorded. In addition, PresenceLearning supervisors can live-audit sessions to monitor quality.

How many children can participate in a session? Can children in multiple locations participate?

Several children can participate in one session led by a single SLP. If the children are in the same location, it’s a question of how many can fit in front of a computer—typically two or at most three. In addition, multipoint videoconferencing allows kids to take part from separate locations, all interacting with one SLP. And of course, multiple sessions can be held simultaneously in same facility (such as a classroom, library, or lab).

Is live online speech therapy appropriate for all situations?

It’s appropriate and beneficial in the majority of situations. In a few cases, children may be better served by traditional in-person therapy—for example, children with significant behavioral or cognitive issues that prevent them from using a computer.

How does PresenceLearning maintain confidentiality and privacy of sessions?

All PresenceLearning sessions are encrypted with SSL (a.k.a. TLS) encryption technology, meeting federal confidentiality standards.

How do PresenceLearning SLPs communicate with parents and teachers? Do PresenceLearning SLPs participate in IEP (individual education plan) meetings?

PresenceLearning supports close collaboration among teachers, school resource professionals, administrators and parents. Parents and teachers can closely monitor a child’s progress by viewing recorded video reports from our SLPs together with online data. PresenceLearning SLPs participate in all meetings of the IEP team via videoconference using our videoconferencing platform. In some circumstances, our SLPs may be present in person.

How are assessments handled?

Typically, student assessments are handled by the school district’s assessment team prior to beginning therapy. If an assessment hasn’t been done and help is needed, we can help arrange for an in-person assessment, drawing on our broad network of SLPs. We can also arrange for remote supervision of an on-site assessment using our videoconferencing platform.

How does PresenceLearning align its services with a child’s classroom curriculum?

We believe strongly in the collaborative-consultative model, and our platform is designed to facilitate communications between SLPs and the students’ classroom teachers. SLPs use phone calls, emails, and live conference sessions using the PresenceLearning platform to consult with classroom teachers about student needs and progress. Effective collaboration with a child’s teachers is a key performance metric for our SLPs.