by Margaret Curley, MS, CCC-SLP, Clinical and Relationship Manager at Epic Special Education Staffing
In today’s rapidly evolving educational landscape, school districts face a myriad of challenges — from recruiting skilled onsite special education professionals to navigating backlogged evaluations. In the face of these challenges, school teleservices have emerged as a practical and adaptable solution. Beyond merely being a stop-gap, teleservices are a powerful tool that can enhance learning experiences. In this article, we delve into the transformative power of teleservices and why they’re not just an alternative, but an essential addition to our modern educational toolkit.
Many school districts have discovered the immense potential of teleservices. At Epic Special Education Staffing, we’re advocates for the role of teleservices in every educational institution, but the intention isn’t to replace on-site professionals. Rather, it’s to complement the resources at hand. Whether it’s tele-assessments, teleconferences for IEP meetings, tele-supervision, or hybrid models, the flexibility is undeniable.
Why Choose Teleservices?
Prompt Service Delivery: According to multiple national educational organizations, delays in hiring on-campus special educators and therapists can be detrimental. All students, especially the vulnerable ones, shouldn’t wait. The earlier schools can begin with testing, setting goals, and therapy, the better their students’ educational trajectory.
Tech Savvy: Digitally native students feel right at home with technology. Most have already experienced online educational tools, but teletherapy offers an interactive human touch. It’s a live educator, offering guidance beyond the traditional gamified learning resources.
Research Speaks Volumes
Teletherapy isn’t just a trend; it’s effective. The increasing volume of teletherapy research consistently shows its efficacy, matching or even surpassing traditional onsite methods.
Identifying Candidates for Teleservices
While most eligible students can benefit from teletherapy, open communication between IEP team members and tele-therapists is crucial. The interactive and multi-sensory engagement offered often captivates students, making learning fun and more accessible. The structured environment of a digital session, combined with interactive elements, often resonates with many students’ learning style. It’s not just about the convenience of technology but about the empowerment and confidence it fosters. Engaging through video is second nature to some, much like their regular FaceTime chats with loved ones.
Yet, it’s equally crucial to understand that one size doesn’t fit all. For students who might find it challenging to engage with a screen for extended periods, alternative strategies are essential. These might involve a blend of tech and traditional methods, ensuring that every student, regardless of their comfort with technology, has access to the support and resources they need.
Special education students are as deserving of digital learning as any other. As they progress academically, it’s vital for them to navigate our tech-centric world. Even if the conventional approach isn’t suitable, there are creative ways to make teletherapy work.
Embarking on Your Teleservices Journey?
If this is the first time your district has explored teleservices, here are a few items to consider:
- Location: Ensure robust WiFi connectivity.
- Support: Trained onsite personnel are invaluable.
- Equipment: Invest in quality computers, headsets, and other essentials.
- Partnership: Regular check-ins are pivotal to success.
Epic’s Assurance on Quality
At Epic, quality is non-negotiable. Our educators undergo rigorous screening for their teletherapy proficiency. Upon joining a district, a Relationship Manager oversees their progress, ensuring monthly updates. Additionally, a licensed Clinical Manager provides essential support for any challenges faced. We also have mechanisms for regular oversight, and we encourage partner schools to do the same. Remember, our Relationship and Clinical Managers are always available for any discussions or consultation.