K-12 Speech-Language Therapy During COVID-19 & Beyond.

5 Steps to address COVID Challenges.

For the most vulnerable students, who struggle academically and often personally and socially at all times, the current times of turbulence might be disastrous. These children have already suffered compromised service since March, lack service during the summer, and might dramatically regress further if they do not receive intensive instruction tailored to their specific needs. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads and challenges unfold, AmplioSpeech solutions evolve to address the emerging needs. We have analyzed the performance of SLP students during the pandemic, and have identified the following barriers towards next year. AmplioSpeech helps schools overcome these challenges.

Efficient and Effective Online Service

Some schools have adopted online tools to provide therapy during closures. There is a spectrum of platforms, from general-purpose video (e.g. Zoom), all the way to SLP-specific AI platforms (e.g. AmplioSpeech). We need to ensure that all homebound students receive efficacious therapy, not inferior to in-person therapy. Online services should reduce workload for clinicians, rather than increase workload. Effective online services reduce pressure for students or staff to return to school, when it is not in the best interest of them, their classmates, or their colleagues. The highest standard platforms are, therefore, recommended.

With AmplioSpeech, students benefit from high-quality online therapy. The platform offloads many of the SLPs’ tasks, reducing workload during these stressful times. AmplioSpeech easily-accessible technical support as well as clinical support enable smooth therapy.

Safe Onsite Service

As students and SLPs return to schools, in some way or another, their safety is the first priority. Alas, speech therapy the way we traditionally deliver it, might not meet COVID-19 safety guidelines. Therapy is typically delivered with a group of students from different classes, in a small room, without masks. 

When schools reopen, we should make sure that students either receive safe individual therapy or stay in their classrooms during group online therapy, delivered from the SLP’s room. Individual and group sessions are effectively delivered over the AmplioSpeech platform, room-to-room.

Service Continuity

The coming school year will be characterized by alternating and hybrid settings. Schools will open and close with COVID waves. Individual students as well as staff will fluctuate between being at school and staying home. Continuous, regular, and consistent therapy will become a safe haven for fragile students while ensuring continued student progress. Such services can only be provided if the entire therapy cycle is managed by a single platform, regardless of setting (online or onsite), including resources, documentation, reimbursement, practice, etc.

AmplioSpeech provides a monolithic platform for all settings. Groups can be formed with students both onsite and online. The same resources and materials are used in any model. Documentation is consistent and standardized throughout the year. Most importantly, IEP time is likely to be met with easy switching between online and onsite.

A Surge of Evaluations and Compensatory Services

Students have missed tens of thousands of evaluations and sessions since COVID-19 broke into our lives. Many schools were not able to compensate for these during the summer. Without proper evaluations and compliant compensatory services, students will regress. We, therefore, expect to double the number of evaluations and services during the first months of the fall. 

AmplioSpeech offers a safety net for school districts. An evaluation squad of licensed, trained, online SLPs is offered to schools. Additional AmplioSpeech SLPs complement regular services with afternoon group compensatory services, to bridge the gaps.

A Quick transition to digital services

SpEd directors report that many clinicians find it difficult to transition from the status quo to a new modality, and in many cases, they too are struggling with the change. The transition does not only involve technology, it also changes processes and logistics, as well as fundamental clinical aspects, such as engaging the student. Good digital platforms have a lot to offer for those who embrace them. They empower clinicians, reduce workload, and enable oversight. If this is new to you or your staff, we highly recommend using a guide to help you through the digital jungle. 

AmplioSpeech offers guidance, training, and support to school admins and clinicians, accelerating the transition to digital services. The training includes the use of the AmplioSpeech platform, translating in-person to online therapy, as well as sessions simulation with an SLP playing a student. Mentorship, daily walk-in sessions, Facebook SLPs community and other methods are offered to ensure the transition is quick, smooth, and fun.

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