Teletherapy has been powering virtual special education for years

This article originally appeared in The Hechinger Report by Tara Garcia Mathewson on April 9, 2020.


Schools face challenges switching to remote services, but they’re not unheard of


While the pace at which the coronavirus has forced schools to transition to online services is unprecedented, the act of providing these services online is not. And that includes doing special education online.

The idea of continuing to serve students with disabilities paralyzed many school leaders in recent weeks, and even led some to cancel school for everyone rather than tackle the challenge of providing special education online. But Kristin Martinez, the clinical director at PresenceLearning, which provides online special education services, said school leaders should take heart.

“This is doable,” she said. “Absolutely there are students who have been receiving services this way for years, successfully.”

PresenceLearning provides licensed speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and behavioral and mental health professionals to hundreds of schools all over the country. Over the last decade, the company has facilitated more than 2.5 million teletherapy sessions.

In normal times, schools contract with PresenceLearning