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Teletherapy: Then vs. Now

Young male student at computer participating in teletherapy

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 the schools across the nation would be useful to them. 

As we know, times have changed, and 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 virtually online in everything we do. 

The desire to serve twice as many students daily was important because, due to extensive travel, I only could see a handful of students a day, since so much time was lost due to commuting (as I spent hours in my car to reach students in rural schools) Getting students served on a consistent bases was the motivating force to create a company that would provide E-Therapy Related Services to districts, schools, and school children with special needs. Here we are in 2020, and our teletherapy platform is more relevant than ever before. 

Pioneering a new special education delivery model

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 and screenshare simultaneously.

Teletherapy was such a new concept that it wasn’t even on anyone’s radar as to how it could be structured and implemented within schools. Most of the world had not heard about it, especially within the education sector. 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. 

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 in for all schools and particularly this pandemic year of 2020-21:

STAR:

  • Manages therapy scheduling
  • Charts clinical data notes/documents within the system per each individual student
  • Graphs visualizations of evidence-based information into charts/graphs towards student success
  • Provides administration oversight of all related services provided 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, but 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 be expert E-Therapists

After months of research and development in 2009, we created one of the first virtual teletherapy platforms. We accomplished developing 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 on how 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 all over the United States. We have therapists that have years of experience and knowledge and that helped us create a cutting-edge system that schools trust and rave about. 

Posted:  16 February, 2021
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Author: Diana Parafiniuk

Diana Parafiniuk, M.S., CCC-SLP, founded E-Therapy in 2009 after finding herself driving hundreds of miles per week. She knew there must be a better way to deliver speech therapy to students and...

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