The public school dilemma
One of the largest obstacles in speech therapy services over the years has been achieving high levels of parent involvement. Without parent involvement, learning reinforcement wanes and it’s difficult to graduate these kids from speech-language therapy. There are other difficulties we face in schools, including personnel shortages which inhibit us from seeing kids at a proper treatment age. Public schools mitigate large caseloads by starting speech treatment later than they should, graduating kids even though they’re not ready, or even refusing to see kids despite their need for therapy. Many of the local school districts are forced to wait and treat speech problems until the child is eight, far into their developmental process, and at that point it’s much harder to retrain habits that are already engrained. Public schools face quite a daunting dilemma.
I came across an article about New Mexico’s educational budget cuts, and they’re going to turn kids away who absolutely need speech therapy. While tax dollars are being used to build a new high school with little to no enrollment, officials are denying imperative speech-language development services. If education doesn’t help kids read, write, speak and develop confidence, then what is its purpose? We face so many difficulties in education, and it’s about time we rethink the way services are delivered and received.
Telepractice is a viable solution
Telepractice is a way of delivering speech-language therapy to students online via an HD webcam, high quality audio chat, and advanced interactive tools used for engagement and interaction with the student. And the best part is that ASHA has approved of this service delivery model since 2005. SLPs don’t have to travel, they can treat more kids during the day, and learning reinforcement is higher because we connect with students while they’re in their natural learning environment: the home. While the student and SLP connect for a session over the online platform, parents are present as the facilitator, and as you can already tell, this provides incredible learning advantages. Kent State University’s OMNIE (Ohio Master’s Network Initiatives in Education) research study on the effects of telepractice indicates the following benefits to student learning :
- Student reaction to the program was overwhelmingly positive
- Administrators felt teletherapy was more consistent than face-to-face sessions and required more attention and engagement on the part of the student
- Most parents rated the program as “above average” and praised their children’s progress
- Students are not removed from precious class-room time
- Students avoid awkward social situations
- Students avoid the all-to-common stereotype of special education
Visual Speech Therapy is a great choice
Visual Speech Therapy is a telepractice that connects SLPs with students while at home, and the benefits outlined above abound in VST’s proven visual learning approach. Why else is “Visual” part of the name? VST is the first telepractice to implement Speech Buddies. Speech Buddies are a series of revolutionary speech therapy tools to help children learn correct and consistent tongue positioning for five of the most difficult-to-learn problem sounds – R, S, L, CH, and SH. Speech Buddies were designed by a team of speech-language pathologists and engineers who understand the challenges associated with speech therapy and treating speech disorders. Speech Buddies train correct tongue placement so children learn and feel how to produce the right sound. Having customized tools for articulation disorders is a breakthrough technology for the speech therapy industry.
Speech Buddies have been shown to help children learn to correct problem sounds twice as fast . They help address mild or severe speech challenges by making it easy to pronounce the correct sound, every time. Research shows that kids with an R sound disorder can achieve 90% accuracy within just eight speech sessions , and kids with an S sound disorder can achieve 71% accuracy within just eight speech sessions .
Contact Visual Speech Therapy for a free demonstration of the online platform and Speech Buddies to see if this is right for you at this time. Find out more by visiting their website as well: www.visualspeechtherapy.com.
 Gordy Rogers & Jessica Galgano, Speech Buddies and Intra-Oral Tactile Biofeedback, 2010.