My Journey to Telehealth

December 17, 2017
Sharon Soliday, CCC-SLP
feature image

There are moments in a career when anyone can feel “Yeah, I know what I’m doing.” But for myself, the moments in which I’ve felt most successful in my career relate to when I’ve had an influence on the systematic execution of services.

telehealth journey

I developed the 3:1 model of service delivery in the schools because it just made sense to build consultative time into a traditional schools workload if we wanted to see students make real progress in the general education classroom. It’s now been adopted in school districts around the country and implemented by thousands of other professionals.

I developed our hybrid model of on-site/online service with school districts (our Hello There model) because it would best serve kids to be engaging with highly skilled, experienced, and qualified professionals who typically weren’t able to relocate to many of the rural communities in need of their services. Nine years later, we are now delivering these online services to students in 36 school districts throughout the West.

And most recently, I developed a platform to provide online service because frankly, I feel like I’ve unlocked the obvious in my own thinking. We needed to record sessions. It’s not that therapy has to be better. It’s that we have to simply share what we’re doing in therapy! We need to share the secrets of what’s behind the speech therapy door so everyone in a position to help, practice, or reinforce efforts can do so. After all, the speech-language pathologist doesn’t “fix speech.” A client’s own practice and effort fixes their speech. What would happen if others besides the speech therapist nurtured that practice? My bet . . .  Everything.

And so, I decided we would build a secure online platform that would allow for recording sessions and summaries from the speech therapist. I couldn’t have afforded to tackle this project 5 years ago. The development would have been cost prohibitive. But with the universe pivoting towards telehealth across a variety of healthcare settings (and simultaneous leaps in technology), this year, developing our own platform was within our reach. A stretch for us? Sure. But I’ve never gone wrong betting on doing what’s best for kids.