Online Speech Therapy | News

Los Angeles Charter School Adopts Online Speech Therapy

Students at Synergy Academies have a new way to access speech therapy. The Los Angeles-based charter school has implemented PresenceLearning's online speech language therapy solution following a successful pilot program that ran during the fall 2013 semester.

The school was prompted to begin searching for a new platform when a number of high school students refused to attend their speech language therapy sessions.

"I attended several speech therapy sessions and found that the sessions were not well-aligned with the students' IEP goals," said Sommer Jones, director of special education and student services for school, in a written statement. "The sessions were run by a speech-language intern and mainly consisted of a small group of students participating in conversation. It made me wonder what students were getting out of it."

Jones launched the pilot with one student. The online speech therapist moved the student through a series of speech therapy exercises as well as academic drills. According to the statement, the student, previously reluctant about speech therapy, appeared engaged and cooperated with the therapist.

More high school students began participating in the new program, prompting the institution to extend the online therapy to its middle school. The middle school principal initially balked, unconvinced the program would be effective. She quickly changed her mind, however, after observing a high school student's session.

"It was the first day of our high school implementation so I was worried that any sort of hiccup would make her veto online speech therapy," said Jones. "After a smooth first session, she thought it was phenomenal. She was convinced from the first visit that this would be beneficial for all students."

According to PresenceLearning, 94 percent of students participating in the program "are making good progress on their Individual Education Plan goals" and all student IEP meetings are current.

"Watching the online therapy sessions, it is amazing to see just how engaged the students are," said Jones. "We can tell they are doing good work because the online SLP has a great rapport with students and students are so at ease with their online SLP."

About the Author

Kanoe Namahoe is online editor for 1105 Media's Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].