Guest Blogger: Ana Paula G. Mumy, MS, CCC-SLP
7:15 a.m. – I make myself a cup of café au lait and sit down at my computer facing beautiful Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs.
7:30 a.m. – I travel 500 miles to the plains of Kansas and work with a student attending a virtual academy who needs assistance with the ‘R’ sound.
12:30 p.m. – I find myself 1100 miles away in rural Montana working with two young students struggling with early-developing sounds.
1:30 p.m. – I travel 200 miles in colorful Colorado and complete the bilingual assessment of a Spanish-speaking student who has been referred for an evaluation due to language and academic concerns.
3:30 p.m. – I land more than 5500 miles away in Recife, Brazil and work with a 12-year-old boy who has never had speech services and can’t make the ‘K’ and ‘G’ sounds.
So in an ordinary work day, how am able to be in two continents and cover over 7300 miles without turning a car key or hopping on a plane? The awesome power of telepresence!!
Allow me to tell you a bit more about my Brazilian student. He’s a bright child but is self-conscious about his speech, and has known something is not right for a very long time. His parents don’t know how to help him and don’t have the means to seek out professional help. School-based services are not available in Brazilian public schools, so my bright 12-year-old student has both the desire and the motivation to improve his speech but no access in order to do so! Within 3 sessions of working with him, he mastered the ‘K’ and ‘G’ sounds in all positions of words, and now after only 6 sessions and guidance for practice at home, he’s at the conversational level reaching a high rate of success! All he truly needed was ACCESS and teleservices provided him just that! The priceless beauty of telepresence!
My American students may be afforded the right to speech/language services in schools, however they face a similar problem… ready ACCESS to services, particularily those in small or remote communities. And what about the growing diversity in the United States? As one in a mere 5% of ASHA-certified bilingual/multilingual service providers, with a few clicks of a button, I can significantly reduce the wait time for bilingual evaluations to be accessible to students, so that they’re able to get the help they need in the classroom, or to rule out any speech and language concerns.
What a great privilege to be in this worthy field helping children and to have found an amazing tool that transcends time and location, and magically introduces ACCESS!!!