Sunday, December 6, 2015

How to Get Started in Telepractice Speech Therapy

According to ASHA, "Telepractice is the application of telecommunications technology to the delivery of speech language and audiology professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client/patient or clinician to clinician for assessment, intervention, and/or consultation."

Telepractice Venues:
-Medical Centers
-Rehabilitation Hospitals
-Community Health Centers
-Outpatient Clinics
-Clients/Patients' Homes
-Residential Health Care Facilities
-Childcare Center

Key Issues
Licensure: Clinicians must be licensed in both the state in which they provide services from and the state where their client receives services. For example, if the clinician lives/works in California and the client receives telepractice in Alaska then the clinician will need to be licensed in both California and Alaska.

The benefits of these partnerships are:
-Reduces the amount of shortages of services to rural districts.
-Offer greater specialization within a district.
-Less travel time costs.

Benefits for the SLPs:
-Work from home.
-Set your own hours.
-Work full or part-time.
-Reduced travel time.
-Better work life balance.

Articles about the effectiveness of telepractice as a service delivery model within a school:
-Grogan-Johnson, Alvares, Rowan, & Creaghead, 2010
-Scheideman-Miller et al., 2002
-McCullough, 2001
-Grogan Johnson et. al., 2011
-Lewis et al., 2008
-Waite et al., 2006

Currently there are a few companies that have partnered with school districts and connect a speech therapist with the students who need to receive speech therapy services.

1. Presence Learning
-Therapy is provided in real-time over videoconferencing.
-The school district provides an onsite paraprofessional to help facilitate logistics during therapy session.
-Two children can be at a single computer for a session led by a single remote SLP. In addition, there is multipoint videoconferencing allows kids from separate locations participate in the same session.
-Provide therapists with a rich library of online activities of therapy tools, such as flashcards, games, worksheets, stories, and interactive whiteboard.
-Uses a platform with the latest web-based videoconferencing technology to ensure reliable, high quality video and audio.
-Provides a complete set of scheduling and progress monitoring functions in order to streamline program administration and compliance reporting.
-Serves a wide range of schools - public, charter, and virtual covering 22 states.
-The platform is designed to facilitate communications between online therapist and the students' classroom teachers through phone calls, emails, and live conference sessions.
-Use the PresenceLearning platform to consult with classroom teachers about student needs and progress.
-Assessments are typically handled by the school district's assessment team prior to beginning therapy. If not, an in-person assessment can be done drawing on their broad network of SLPs or remote supervision of an on-site assessment using videoconferencing platform.
-Therapist participate in all IEP meetings via videoconference using their videoconferencing platform.

What to Expect: Becoming an Independent Contractor
-Minimum 10 hours per week
-8 hours direct therapy, 2 hours case management
-30 minute sessions
-16 students
-small group sessions for similar therapy needs
-2-3 kids per group

2. TinyEYE Therapy Services:
-You meet with your students at their scheduled times through a live video connection. 
-All you need is a computer, web camera, headset, and high-speech internet.
-You will be assigned a Primary Support Leader to help with training on how to access TinyEYE's Online Therapy Office.
-The Online Therapy Office helps to begin scheduling sessions, use their interactive activities, save time using their automated reporting.
-Each school has a trained eHelper available to assist with therapy sessions.
-Technical support is available 24/7 during therapy sessions in case of any issues.
-Virtual Backpacks to easy provide practice through games, exercises, messages, and videos so the students can review their skills and keep their parents and educators in the loop. In addition, TinyEYE's software monitors the students use of the Backpacks, so you know if they did their work.

What to Expect: Becoming an Independent Contractor
-No Minimum hours required per week.
-Must be able to work the same hours every week.
-Preferences will go to therapist who are able to work more hours.
-Therapist are paid monthly for the previous months work.
-You will need to get your own liability insurance.