Online occupational therapy assessments increase efficiency and eliminate bottlenecks in special education programs
SAN FRANCISCO, April 30, 2014 – Limited access to qualified occupational therapists affects schools’ ability to assess student needs for occupational therapy (OT) and deliver the prescribed services. To help schools meet the legal mandate for timely evaluation of students with special needs, PresenceLearning has added online assessments to its OT and speech therapy offerings.
“Scheduling and performing assessments of students for special services forms a bottleneck in many districts,” said Clay Whitehead, co-CEO and co-founder of PresenceLearning. “Students lose valuable time waiting to be assessed to gain access to therapeutic services that facilitate their academic achievement. Delivering assessments online provides a new option for schools to ensure that students get the help they need.”
PresenceLearning’s online occupational therapists conduct the same assessments as those performed in traditional, in-person OT settings, including the Beery VMI, the Sensory Profile, family and teacher interviews, and observation of school and functional skills in the student’s natural learning environment.
“Providing online occupational therapy can be a huge help in meeting a school’s OT programming needs, but providing assessments online is equally important,” said Elizabeth Haas, occupational therapy clinical coordinator at PresenceLearning. “The school-based OT assessment is really the foundation for all recommendations regarding the necessary interventions and therapy planning for a student struggling to perform daily living skills in the school environment. Online assessments gather the very same information as an on-the-ground assessment, and provide therapists with the information needed to make appropriate recommendations for OT service.”
Online OT evaluations are supported by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
Since 2009, PresenceLearning’s online speech therapy services have provided schools with a practical, affordable new option for service delivery: web-based access to a nationwide network of live, highly qualified, fully licensed speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists who are available whenever and wherever they are needed. This past year, PresenceLearning added online assessments for both speech and OT. By partnering with PresenceLearning, school districts can fill staffing gaps related to acute and chronic SLP and OT shortages, reduce high caseloads for onsite personnel, reduce their backlog of assessments, improve student outcomes and become more efficient. PresenceLearning also offers access to technical specialists, as well as culturally and linguistically diverse speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists.
By the end of the 2013-2014 school year, PresenceLearning will have delivered 450,000 live online therapy sessions in public school districts, charter schools and virtual schools of all sizes nationwide.
PresenceLearning (www.presencelearning.com) is the leading provider of live online speech therapy and online occupational therapy services for K-12 students. The company offers school districts web-based access to a growing, nationwide network of hundreds of highly qualified speech language pathologists (SLPs) and occupational therapists (OTs) via live videoconferencing combined with the latest in evidence-based practices and powerful progress reporting.
Serving thousands of students in public, charter and virtual schools throughout the U.S., PresenceLearning has shown that online speech and language therapy is practical, affordable and highly effective. PresenceLearning is an ASHA-approved continuing education provider for SLPs and a U.S. Department of Education grant-winner, dedicated to bringing the highest clinical standards to online therapy.