Distance Learning

Klamath County SD Expands Online Speech Therapy

Klamath County School District in Oregon is expanding its implementation of online speech language therapy services, so the district's speech language pathologists (SLPs) can spend more time working with students and less time driving.

The school district is spread over a large geographical area in southern Oregon, so SLPs often have to spend a great deal of their time driving between schools. The district is also short one SLP because of a hard-to-fill job vacancy. The long travel times and large caseloads created challenges for the district's SLPs.

Last year Klamath County SD piloted an online speech therapy service from PresenceLearning with 30 of its students. "It helped us fill an SLP vacancy and alleviate the long travel times and large caseloads our SLPs were experiencing, which in turn provided our SLPs with the ability to better serve our students with special needs," said Laura Blair, director of special services at Klamath County School District, in a prepared statement. "Our students also loved the service. They were engaged in — and eager to attend — the therapy, so it was a win-win all around."

Based on the success of that pilot, the district implemented live, online speech therapy services from PresenceLearning for close to 80 students, and now the district is expanding that implementation to students in elementary, junior and high schools in the district's northern and southern-most counties, as well as in private schools and with homeschooled students. According to information from the company, "the use of online therapy with PresenceLearning's highly qualified SLPs will eliminate the need for the district's onsite SLPs to frequently travel the approximately 120 miles between these counties."

Rhonda Tyler, one of Klamath County's onsite SLPs said she "can now focus on working full-time in one of [the district's] elementary schools," and that she and her colleagues will have more "dedicated time to work with [their] students."

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].