Large Idaho District Fills Gap With Online Speech Therapy

School districts spanning large areas, like 10,000-plus student Bonneville Joint School District 93 in Idaho Falls, ID, often struggle to hire and retain enough fully qualified speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to serve their widely dispersed schools. To more fully serve students with special needs, Bonneville Joint School District 93 is using PresenceLearning’s online therapy services.

“I was a skeptic at first. How would we get a student to learn language and speech articulation through a remote therapist on a computer?” said Rex Miller, Director of Special Education. “ It has been interesting to see the games they can play on the computer and how excited the kids get about it. This is pretty powerful.”

After two full years of online speech therapy in the district, more than 90 percent of the district’s students using PresenceLearning have made progress toward their Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals.

This progress also helps students achieve outside of the classroom. Connor, a second grade student in the district, has a hearing weakness in one of his ears that was affecting his articulation and speech and ultimately his ability to be understood by his peers. During his online speech sessions, Connor hears a sound and then articulates it back to his remote therapist, helping him make strides toward better speech. Before working on his speech online, Connor had difficulty making friends, but with consistent, frequent online speech therapy, he is now understood and is much more social.

PresenceLearning’s online speech therapy and other related services provide a practical option for service delivery: web-based access to a nationwide network of licensed speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and mental health professionals who are available whenever and wherever they are needed. PresenceLearning also offers online assessments for both speech and occupational therapy, as well as social/emotional/behavioral assessments. PresenceLearning also offers access to technical specialists, as well as culturally and linguistically diverse clinicians.