Distance Learning | News

Colorado District Adds Online Speech Therapy

A Colorado school district facing a speech-language pathologist (SLP) shortage has partnered with a live online speech therapy provider to ramp up services to more than 120 students.

Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs, which has about 10,000 students in 25 schools in grades K-12, including more than 1,000 in special education programs, completed a pilot with PresenceLearning earlier this year and fully implemented the services in the fall.

PresenceLearning's certified therapists supervise and collaborate with the district's speech-language pathologist assistants (SLPA). The pathologists from PresenceLearning then provide speech and articulation services using game-based activities. They also work with assistants on learning objectives, classroom activities, and lesson planning.

"After experiencing a chronic SLP shortage in our district, we needed to find a stable and consistent way to deliver speech therapy to our students," said Deirdre Shearer, special programs coordinator of Harrison School District Two, in a prepared statement. "Together with our SLPAs, PresenceLearning has provided us with a solution. Students now receive dual support--the SLPs and SLPAs work together so that students participate in robust and engaging therapy."

The PresenceLearning Web platform includes scheduling, tracking, reporting, and auditing tools. Audio headsets and webcams, as well as staff training, are also provided to the school district.

"We are always looking for ways to best support our students," said Shearer. "It has truly been a collaborative teaching effort with the SLPs and SLPAs and, because of their efforts, students are really enjoying and benefitting from the therapy sessions."

For more information about Harrison School District Two, visit hsd2.org. Visit presencelearning.com to learn more about PresenceLearning.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.