Rural district meets speech language pathologist shortage

Mississippi district partners with PresenceLearning to add online SLP services

slp-servicesIn rural southern Mississippi, finding enough qualified speech-language professionals to fully serve a growing population of students with speech and language delays can be problematic.

Stone County School District in Wiggins, Miss., employs three speech-language professionals: two fully certified, Master’s level speech-language professionals who are responsible for higher-level activities such as full evaluations, reporting and leading IEP meetings, and one speech-language professional with a Bachelor’s degree and who can perform a more limited set of therapy activities as regulated by law.

To redistribute the workload and fill gaps, Stone County School District partnered with PresenceLearning to provide students with online access to an additional fully certified Master’s level speech-language professional.

Next page: What district staff say about the partnership

“Our district SLPs have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of PresenceLearning’s online therapy, the online SLP’s professionalism and organization, as well as the amount of data she records for each student,” said Wendy Rogers, Special Services Director at Stone County Public Schools. “One of our fully certified SLPs has even said she is learning from the online SLP. She said watching the way the additional SLP uses certain techniques and the ability to bounce ideas off of another SLP is another avenue of professional development.”

Rogers first learned about PresenceLearning’s online therapy services at the Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE) Fall Conference in 2013. After evaluating her district’s needs, Rogers wanted to supplement the district’s speech therapy services with an online SLP from PresenceLearning. This additional fully certified SLP would help alleviate the burden from the district’s overloaded SLPs. This school year, more than a dozen of the district’s middle and high school students are using online speech therapy.

“The whole implementation process has been seamless,” said Rogers. “All of the planning, equipment set-up and logistics were in place and tested before our first therapy session so we knew this was going to work. With other technology-based products and services we have used, there were growing pains before we got to a point where students were seeing benefits. PresenceLearning was easily implemented, and we are already seeing positive results for our students.”

PresenceLearning also offers online occupational therapy (OT), online behavioral and mental health services, and online assessments.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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Laura Ascione
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