“During that time, we’ve gathered a long list of sites appropriate for teaching kids, from the simply educational to those created specifically for speech therapy,” Guerrasio said. Connections Academy’s speech therapy program also uses proprietary tools, such as Connect-a-Majig, a phonics tool that offers fun activities around spelling and phonics for younger students.
Feedback from schools and participating students has been very positive for a variety of reasons. “Kids love it,” said Guerrasio. “They think computers are cool.”
Parents have found the online speech therapy program useful as well, because it invites parental involvement.
“Traditionally, when kids get therapy at school, the parent doesn’t see the therapy. If they do it at home, the parent can be involved, the parent and the therapist can interact directly. The therapist can remind the parent, ‘Make sure you work with him on the S sound tonight,’” explained Guerrasio.
But the speech therapy sessions don’t have to take place at home. At school districts that are interested in signing on for the online speech therapy program, students can use a computer lab or other area in the school for the speech therapy sessions.
This is another benefit to taking speech therapy online, said Guerrasio: “Whether a student is in a computer lab at school or at home, they’re in their natural environment rather than the sterile environment of a clinic room.” This enhances learning, she added.
All of the Connections Academy speech therapists are certified in any state in which they serve, as well as by the American Speech Hearing Association. Connections Academy will work with districts on a case-by-case basis to determine the needs of the district and its individual students. Students typically see a therapist once a week for an hour, but some—perhaps those with shorter attention spans—do better with a twice-a-week, 30-minute schedule. Others, including those who are closer to their goals and need less help, might see a therapist every other week.
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