While every school district we are working with is struggling to keep students on track during this unprecedented time, we are thankful to have therapists who remain dedicated to serving special needs kids. Less than a month ago, before COVID-19 became the challenge that it is today, we were able to assemble a group of just under 300 therapists who were capable and willing to work with their students virtually. We connected them with the school districts we work with, and were able to bring teletherapy to approximately 10,000 students since the shelter-in-place orders have been put in place across the country. Now, just a few weeks later, the program is thriving and students are getting the help they need. The program is helping these students avoid the regression that can easily set in when there are extended breaks in therapy.
We’re also fortunate that we were able to work with an experienced expert in teletherapy, Margaret Curley, to build out our teletherapy program. With her guidance, we launched a series of free online resources for parents and school districts, which are designed to help kids stay on track while virtually every parent is becoming a home educator. The resource center on our website has a series of webinars and online resources that our parent community is looking for. Thus far, the resources have been viewed over 2,000 times.
If there is a silver lining to this terrible virus, it is that out of necessity school districts have become more open to remote learning. This is a really important evolution because now school districts that have struggled to recruit speech-language pathologists are likely to be more comfortable offering teletherapy to their students. This will help ease the lack of trained, licenses speech-language pathologists available to districts, and help districts be more prepared when external forces keep students away from their special needs educator.
In the last few years, school closures because of wildfires, weather events and natural disasters have happened across the country. Integrating remote learning into a school district’s preparedness plan gives districts a resource that can be turned on when necessary. Teletherapy and remote learning gives students and districts continuity, and lessens the effect of the time away.
“I am so happy to be working with you, and I am so happy to do teletherapy. I am so grateful that I have been able to work with Margaret Curley, she is the absolute best! We need to find reasons to be happy in this difficult time. Thank you for everything.”
—Tiffany Trujillo, TherapyTravelers SLP
While we can’t know how long the effects of COVID-19 will challenge educators, parents and students, we do know that remote learning is another tool in their toolbox to keep kids on track.
We hope that you and yours are healthy, and that as you find new ways to navigate the challenges that face us all, we can be a resource for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to [email protected] with questions you may have, or to visit our website to learn how teletherapy may help the special needs kids in your life to stay on track.