The story of Isaac, a bright-eyed and energetic four-year- old, brings to life the power of blended speech-language therapy.
All things considered, everything was going as you would expect with a boy his age. He loved superheroes, video games, and trying to learn to skateboard. But early on his mother noticed she was having trouble understanding him when he spoke. She had gone through a similar situation with Isaac’s older sister. So, she had him tested.
Isaac lives in Nye County, Nevada. This rural county is home to several environmentally sensitive areas, including a portion of Death Valley National Park and is remarkable in the fact that it is the third largest county in the contiguous U.S., larger than the combined total area of Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Delaware. While those four states hold a total population of more than 17 million, Nye County’s residents are estimated to be less than 44,000. Yet, the needs of a young child, such as Isaac, don’t change with the size of a county’s population.
As his mother suspected, Isaac was having articulation problems. So, the county provided the services Isaac needed, until Joe Gent, the Special Education Coordinator in Nye County, Nevada, found himself shorthanded. The therapist working with Isaac moved away in the middle of the school year. Mr. Gent wanted to ensure there was continuity in the services Isaac received.
The situation marked the start of a relationship between Learn It, a national provider of special education services, and Nye County.
Creating New Possibilities With Blended Therapy
Telepractice redefines the delivery of Speech-Language services. It enables the creation of a new blended therapy model that is more flexible, more customized and more in tune with challenges facing both the administrators who have to address the needs of their students and the ability of the therapists to fulfill their obligations.
For Learn It, telepractice has enabled the creation of a wide range of services for both individual students and small groups of students. These services have proven ideal for school districts where there are larger caseloads, high indirect costs, difficult to staff locations, and significant travel time between schools. Learn It has also been able to work with schools just to cover their response to intervention services. In sum, telepractice has proven to be an excellent resource offering the flexibility to be utilized in many different ways to address the needs of school districts.
To facilitate a blended approach, Learn It can provide a full or part-time, on-site or telepractice solution that allows for in-person therapy combined with the on-demand benefits of telepractice. This also allows for the greatest short-term and long-term flexibility in caseload management. Learn It can also provide blended on-site/telepractice services in combination with a district’s on-site SLPs, allowing schools to extend services to more students while managing special education costs. This blended solution helps eliminate gaps in therapy and maintain compliance.