Teletherapy Then Vs. Now
Just a decade ago, teletherapy was virtually unheard of. Speech therapists, as well as physical and occupational therapists, served students in a strictly on-site environment – never thinking that the technology that was flooding into schools across the nation would be useful to them.
As we know, times have changed. So has the demand for how we use technology to connect with others. When I started E-Therapy in 2009, I never imagined that we would be in a pandemic in 2020 and online in everything we do. Back then, my desire to serve twice as many students daily was important because, due to extensive travel, I only could see a handful of students each day. So much time was lost due to commuting because I spent hours in my car to reach students in rural Arizona schools.
Getting students served on a consistent basis was the motivating force to create E-Therapy, a company that would provide Related Services to districts, schools, and school children with special needs.
Here we are, ready to begin 2021, and our teletherapy platform is more relevant than ever before.
Pioneering a new special education delivery model
Teletherapy was such a new concept that it wasn’t even on anyone’s radar. At the time of E-Therapy’s inception, reliable platforms were virtually non-existent. Sure there were nascent learning management (LMS) systems, but nothing that could perform at the level and care that we needed them to perform. These platforms were not regulated for state standards or even HIPAA compliance. They could not even do the basics, stream a video, or screenshare simultaneously.
Most of the world had not heard about teletherapy, especially within the education sector. No one knew how it needed to be structured and implemented within schools. Facetime hadn’t even been invented. Live streaming was not a part of everyday life. Can you imagine? Sometimes it makes you wonder how we lived without these services- since it is so prevalent in our lives now.
So I found people smarter than myself, and we started from scratch. I knew what I needed. I knew what other SLPs needed. That was the blueprint we used to build a solution.
E-Therapy had to prove that it had the goods
Many educators and school districts needed convincing that online video conference therapy sessions would work for their districts and schools. Educators are not naturally early adopters and prefer a system that has been proven. We had to show Special Education Directors that E-Therapy could provide a therapy service and platform equipped with the tools they needed.
Real-time data to support a student’s education plan
Some of administrators primary program needs include student session monitoring and tracking. We had the challenge, in the early days, of developing organizational tools internally. Our team spent many hours researching best practices and created our own bank of knowledge. These early tools have evolved into a comprehensive session tracking and delivery system within the STAR Teletherapy Platform that supports data collection required for all schools – particularly this pandemic year of 2020-21.
We made sure to include these essentials in our related services solution:
- Manages therapy scheduling
- Charts clinical data notes/documents for each individual student
- Graphs visualizations of evidence-based information towards student success
- Provides administration oversight of all related services in real-time
- Monitors real-time student/therapy session progress based on therapist clinical data entry
Tele-assessments to develop therapy goals
Assessments, evaluations, and testing diagnostics have always had a place. Today’s schools need to ensure that they can do testing and evaluations to serve their student needs in a safe environment during the pandemic.
E-Therapy has an extensive library of assessments for special education eligibility and programming. Our nationwide team of clinical therapists and school psychologists utilize evidence-based assessment measures to evaluate students’ strengths and needs. We provide face-to-face, live “tele-assessments” utilizing telepractice procedures that are HIPAA compliant.
We offer most any assessment that your students require in any of the areas or focus needed. Our therapists collaborate with the IEP team to determine each student’s unique needs. We work to develop appropriate therapy goals to help your students be successful in reaching their full potential.
Training therapists to become expert E-Therapists
After months of research and development in 2009, we created one of the first virtual teletherapy platforms. We developed a system that could help provide the services that schools needed.
But we knew that there was no training or webinars on how to complete online services for schools. How could school-based clinicians in speech therapy, occupational therapy, mental and behavioral health, and physical therapy become expert E-Therapists?
E-Therapy offers online resources, tools, webinars, and live tutorials to make it easier for your therapists to ramp up quickly. We train teachers, therapists, students, and administrators to use our private online therapy rooms, as well as our HIPAA compliant, proprietary Session Tracking and Reporting System (STAR) Platform.
Today we are proud to say that E-Therapy and our STAR Platform are trusted names in school districts across the United States. We have therapists that have years of experience and knowledge that helped us create a cutting-edge system that schools trust and rave about.