Leah started working as an SLP in 2017, and started with PL in January, 2019.
How has the PL online platform enabled you to help your students and the schools you serve in new ways?
With the PL platform I am able to organize my therapy sessions and activities more efficiently, which allows for better-run therapy sessions and more time for communication with school staff.
Doing teletherapy, all the activities are right there on the computer. Working in a school, a lot of time is taken up simply finding, corralling, organizing activities, etc. With PL, having all the activities online and then being able to organize them into categories and subcategories allows me to do all these steps very quickly and spontaneously as needed. Because I don’t have to put activities away after sessions, my indirect time is not being taken up with lots of administrative tasks, so when I do need to reach out to teachers about a student, I have the time.
Can you tell us a little about how you collaborate with teachers and other school staff members?
I collaborate with teachers and staff members primarily via email and text, and with the assistance of my PSPs. Collaboration is usually needed around IEP time, around a meeting time, or if there is a team-wide intervention or series of interventions that need to be implemented and the speech therapist is part of that. The PSP clues us in if the teacher doesn’t email us directly. I text a lot with my PSPs.
How do you build trust and rapport with parents?
Trust and rapport can be difficult to establish with parents of children in special education, whether you’re connecting in-person or online. For me, it is important to reach out to parents at the beginning of each year with information about myself, teletherapy, and my contact information. After that, I check-in with parents as needed, and make sure that my PSP has their ear to the ground and shares with me any pertinent information.
What advice would you give districts considering online therapy?
I would recommend that they do it! If there are sufficient school therapists/psychologists living in/near your district, that’s great and I would absolutely recommend that you take advantage of those professionals. However, that is not frequently the case, unless your district is in or near a popular, urban area. For all other districts, online therapy is a great way to supplement your in-person therapist/psychologist staff (if you have one), and ensure that your students receive the services that they are owed in an effective and fun manner.
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