PA Distance Learning Charter School Adopts Online Speech Therapy

PA Distance Learning Charter School has chosen PresenceLearning to provide online speech therapy and other special education-related services for K-12 students. Students with special needs now have the option to receive live support services online instead of needing to coordinate with a complex web of in-person contractors.

“We are a cyber-school without any satellite offices so everything we do is online,” said Jamie Desrochers, director of Special Education at the PA Distance Learning Charter School. “Moving from in-home therapy to online speech therapy was a natural transition because of how we are currently delivering instruction.”

PA Distance Learning Charter School currently serves 510 students across Pennsylvania. Approximately 20 percent of these students qualify for special education, with 30 of these students requiring related services such as speech-language, physical therapy and/or occupational therapy. Prior to its use of PresenceLearning, PA Distance Learning Charter School provided these services to students by sending individually contracted therapists to students’ homes or agreed upon location. However, tracking the individual therapists and their schedules, reports and associated fees was becoming difficult to manage.

“We used to have to pull teeth to get progress monitoring reports from many of our contracted in-home therapists,” said Desrochers. “Now we are getting reports from our online therapists without even having to ask. PresenceLearning’s administrator dashboard, SPEDinsight, helps me easily see when a student does not attend a session so I can intervene, as well as see up-to-the-minute student progress and check on other IEP-related processes.”

PA Distance Learning Charter School initially implemented PresenceLearning as pilot with one student in November of 2013, and has since added eight more students to the caseload. The school plans to move a majority of its speech-language caseload to PresenceLearning at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.

“Having individually-assigned therapists from one provider is easier and better than managing individual contracts across the state,” said Desrochers. “Although they are not physically present, it is like having our own therapists.”