In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, school districts are having to use online practices and platforms to connect with students with special needs. Many districts are new to these practices of teletherapy. This guidance is designed to assist school districts with best practices and suggestions to consider when transitioning to teletherapy. Special thanks to Speech Teacher Vickie Foss from Tupper Lake CSD and Educational Technology Specialist Mark Giufre from Wildwood School for their contributions.
Three (3) important principles to consider when implementing teletherapy
- Most best practices in teletherapy are similar (if not identical at times) to best practices in facilitating good virtual meetings and instruction in typical circumstances – so don’t reinvent the wheel!
- Service providers should only use online tools and platforms approved and provided through their local school district to meet data privacy standards and regulations. In addition, while HIPPA guidelines have been temporarily loosened, providers are encouraged to use a HIPPA compliant tool/platform when possible. Providers should also consider HIPPA guidance from their individual professional governing bodies when selecting online tools and platforms.
- Temporary changes to service delivery due to school closures do not require changes to the IEP. Providers should do their best to maintain their caseloads at the frequencies set forth in their IEPs, in spite of the inherent challenges with doing so due to the current crisis.