Wednesday, January 11, 2017
INTEGRIS Offers Speech Teletherapy to Oklahoma’s Rural School Districts
Program Celebrates Major Miletone
OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 11, 2017) – The INTEGRIS Speech Telepractice program offered by Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation recently celebrated a major milestone, completing its 100,000th speech teletherapy encounter.
The program was one of the first of its kind in the country and since its inception in 1999, INTEGRIS speech-language pathologists have partnered with 18 school districts from all corners of the state. The program has provided evidence-based speech therapy for students with articulation, language and communication disorders.
The significance of telecommunications technology is that it allows the delivery of professional and comprehensive speech therapy services to students throughout the state including underserved rural areas of Oklahoma.
INTEGRIS speech teletherapists use real-time interactive videoconferencing to provide personalized instruction to students at their own school sites. Students participate in games and therapy exercises geared specifically to their speech and language needs, just as they would if the speech therapist were on site. A teacher’s aide at the school helps facilitate the session.
Before teletherapy, speech therapists either had to travel to each school or students had to travel to receive services. As a result of that burden, many children did not receive adequate treatment. Lori Short is the program’s current lead speech-language pathologist. She said, “In many of the communities we serve children simply did not receive these services before the availability of speech teletherapy. Or if they did, the services they received were not at the frequency or quality they needed.”
The value of telepractice is that students get the treatment they need, while staff, students and parents save time and travel expenses. Sessions are performed at school, assuring that students maintain a schedule of treatments and evaluations.
The INTEGRIS team was among the first to study the effectiveness of their teletherapy practice. Their findings conclude that teletherapy was as effective as traditional onsite treatment for helping students advance their speech and language abilities. The effectiveness of teletherapy is recognized by the American Speech and Hearing Association and the Oklahoma Department of Education.
The INTEGRIS Speech Telepractice program currently serves nine school districts including Cottonwood, Felt, Forgan, Guymon, INTEGRIS Meadowlake Schools, INTEGRIS Spencer School, Keyes, Straight and Tyrone. The students range in age from three to 21.
The program consists of two full-time and two part-time speech teletherapists. “Our speech teletherapists do all the same treatments as a traditional school based clinician: screening, evaluation, treatment, meetings, etc.,” says Short. “The only difference is the delivery model of being through teleconferencing versus physically being on site and we feel we have proven we are as effective and efficient as more traditional onsite treatment.”
For more information please contact Lori Short at 405-949-3395 or visit integris-ehealth.com.