ABC News | Heather Crawford | June 3, 2020
JACKSONVILLE, Fla — For many children with autism and other special needs, the pandemic has limited or changed the way they receive services. A Jacksonville social impact company is leading the way to help train and certify therapists across the country for teletherapy, so children don’t have a gap in service.
The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, known as IBCCES, launched its telepractice certification program as the pandemic was forcing many providers to change the way they operate.
Jacksonville Speech and Hearing became the first in Florida to go through the training program and now all of its speech-language pathologists are certified in teletherapy.
“We actually had talked about teletherapy for a long time but hadn’t really made it there,” Michael Howland, CEO of Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center said. “With COVID the notion of telepractice enabled us to continue serving our Duval County public school students and the students that we were seeing in our clinic to continue giving those patients the critical speech-language therapy that they had been getting in person.”
IBCCES CEO Myron Pincomb said his company spent more than a year working closely with industry experts to develop a comprehensive training and certification program that he hopes will become the gold standard for professionals delivering virtual services to children with autism and other special needs.
“We worked with about 34 physicians and therapists that were all on the project, and we really tried to create and establish a protocol and a baseline for how to deliver services virtually,” Pincomb said. “You know with the pandemic the parent was really forced into a much more active role than they were before. They were sitting on the other end of the table, so we help the parents know when to do what.”
For McKenzie Miller, 6, who has been going to speech therapy for about three years, teletherapy means she can still meet weekly with her speech therapist without having to leave her home. Her mother, Elexis Stevens, said it has been just as effective
“We’re able to just pull up the meeting on the computer and they’re able to get it done,” Stevens said. “I believe this is helping her stay on track. I think with all small children if they don’t keep a routine of what they’re used to doing every week they could slide back.”
To learn more about the training/certification and parent resources you can visit IBCCES’s website. To connect with a certified therapist at Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center you can visit their website.