May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. All month, organizations like E-Therapy are working to raise awareness about our students’ communication disorders and virtual speech therapy treatments available during their time away from school due to Covid-19.
The continued disruption of school is causing concern among parents worried that their children will not continue to receive speech and language services. Here are six things that parents need to know:
1. Children are still entitled to a free and appropriate public education
Guidance from the DOE states that school districts must provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities. Educators can use distance learning to serve all students, and special education and related services can be provided via computer, internet, or phone. E-Therapy is a pioneer in providing teletherapy services to school throughout the United States. If your district does not have a HIPAA compliant online therapy platform for their on-site therapists, they need to look at a service provider like E-Therapy.
2. Your child may be able to receive virtual speech therapy during school closures
Teletherapy is a way to deliver speech and language therapy online, and many school districts had a system in place before schools closed. Others have added in a video conferencing model because of the pandemic. If your child is not receiving services or if your school is using free teleconferencing tech that was built for business, then point your local district toward E-Therapy.
3. Privacy laws still apply to your child
HIPAA and FERPA laws are still in effect, so that your child’s personal health and educational records cannot be shared without parental consent. Enforcement of compliance could be relaxed though because we are in a state of emergency.
4. Children who regress can rebound!
ASHA states, “Amidst current circumstances, children with speech and language disorders are at a greater risk of regressing educationally than other students. However, students can regain ground; in most cases, a child’s regression will not be permanent.” This is good news, but it might not be of use to you now.
Schools are required to provide services such as speech therapy, physical and occupational therapy, and mental health services, as well as diagnostics, evaluations, and IEPs. For students in virtual learning settings, therapy can be done online. Teletherapy companies like E-Therapy provide all these services or license our STAR Teletherapy Platform for school-based staff to use.
5. Don’t beat yourself up. You are doing your best.
These are weird times, and you are under a lot of pressure. With all the responsibilities you have, SLPs at your child’s school know that you are doing your best to balance everything. Self-care and wellness may be buzz words that you are tired of hearing, but the pressure is real. It can become debilitating if you don’t address it. Our resident life coach, Cathy H, wrote a piece called Ten Tips to Keep You From Falling Apart This School Year. Try to follow dome of those tips to help with your sanity.
We really are in this together.
6. Your SLP is a rockstar, too
School-based SLPS weren’t set up for teletherapy, so it has been a learning curve for them, too. They have lots of the same responsibilities at home as their student’s parents, but they are determined and dedicated to serve their students. It’s a true partnership no matter where the learning takes place.
Follow E-Therapy for Activities and Resources
Follow E-Therapy on Facebook to get activities you can use with your child. Our teletherapists share new ones every week, and we will continue throughout the summer! Click below to Like Us! Thanks!