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Welcome to the show notes for Episode 90 of the OT Schoolhouse Podcast.
During the pandemic, teletherapy found its foothold as the world shut down and continues to now reopen. However, despite schools and businesses reopening, this is just the beginning of the story for occupational therapy and the doors that have opened in the world of teletherapy.
In today’s episode, we are talking with Occupational Therapist, Tasha Holmes, and Speech Pathologist, Kristin Martinez, from PresenceLearning. PresenceLearning is one of the largest providers of teletherapy services and in this episode, we are going to learn how they adapted during the pandemic and where they see teletherapy headed as the world continues to become more emerged in technology.
Join us and we explore the future of teletherapy with Kristin Martinez, M.A., CCC-SLP & Tasha Holmes, MOT, OTR/L
Links to Show References:
Learn more about Presence Learning at https://www.presencelearning.com
students, tasha, support, services, telehealth, ot, therapists, therapy, kids, kristin, platform, ots, activities, piece, pandemic, working, people, helping, learning, slp
Hello and welcome to the OT Schoolhouse podcast, your source for school-based occupational therapy tips, interviews, and professional development. Now to get the conversation started, here is your host Jayson Davies, class is officially in session.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of the OT schoolhouse podcast. Thank you so much for being here today. My name is Jayson Davies, and I'm here with you every other week, if not every week, sometimes to discuss occupational therapy in the schools. So today, we are here to discuss how teletherapy has evolved over the past few years, especially with the pandemic in the past two years, everything has changed. I think just about everyone listening right now has experienced telehealth or teletherapy in the past two years, and I cannot believe we're coming up on that two-year, March 13 date if I remember right when things started to shut down. But aside from looking at the past, we're also going to look into the future a little bit and how teletherapy is going to move forward, how it fits into occupational therapy right now, and also moving forward into the future. In fact, one of my favorite questions you're going to hear in a little bit is how the world is changing. You know, Facebook changed its name to Meta this past few months. And well, I just can't wait to see what teletherapy brings within the next few years, it's gonna take a little while to advance that much. But it's going to get crazy where we go. So to get some of these insights I'm excited to have occupational therapist, Tasha Holmes and speech and language pathologist, Kristin Martinez joins us for this episode. Tasha and Kristen are both employed at a company called Presence Learning where they do provide occupational therapy online teletherapy, as well as speech, and a few other services. Kristin and Tasha are not practicing for presence learning at this moment. But they do support other occupational therapists who do practice through teletherapy. And so they are going to have several insights as to what therapists have difficulties with and how they are helping them get past those difficulties and get past some of those, those mind thoughts that might be limiting their ability to progress. They're also going to share with us a little bit about the presence learning platform that they use, which is different from zoom or Google meet, and it allows them to do more things and be more interactive with the clients that they serve. So now that there is a light at the end of the tunnel with a pandemic, hopefully, I know Omicron is kind of poking its head out. But hopefully, we can get beyond that. We do want to see how teletherapy is going to continue to move forward. So please help me in welcoming Tasha and Kristin to the OT Schoolhouse podcast. I hope you enjoy this interview. Hello, and welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much, Tasha, thank you so much, Kristin for being here today. I want to let you all kind of get started and just talk about your role at presencelearning and kind of where you fit into the therapy world. And so I'll actually go ahead and start with Kristin, let us know a little bit about yourself.
Okay. Thanks, Jayson, thanks so much for having us today. So I'm Kristin Martinez, I am an SLP by trade. And so I have been an SLP now for over 20 years, which feels a bit shocking. But here we are. So I was an on-site, school-based therapist and in private practice here in my local area for about 13 years before starting with presence learning in 2013. So I first started in teletherapy, not knowing any single another person who was doing teletherapy I knew nothing about it. But I was at a point where I was taking a leave of absence from my district physician needed some more time to support some family needs for a bit. And presence learning reached out to me because they were needing therapists in Colorado. So I thought, Okay, I'll try it. And about a month in just realized how much I loved it. It was a really great fit for me. And so I made the permanent transition. So I was a provider who provided teletherapy services, therapy evaluations, you know, it's really supporting all the full scope of work for SLPs for a couple of years, and then came over as an employee for the company and spent a few years managing the clinical side of accounts working really closely with school districts supporting our providers. And then the last couple of years, I've been clinical director for SLP and OT services. Right that's, that's my, my, my journey.
So that means all the OTs and SLPs. They kind of get to work with you a little bit to hone their teletherapy skills.
So my role now is not as much day-to-day direct. You know, we've been lucky enough to have quite a bit of growth in our company. And so we have whole teams of clinical account managers who really support day to day needs for our therapists and Tasha and I, well, we do engage with providers, we also do a lot to support resources and bringing in programs and, you know, some of the high-level clinical pieces in order to, you know, expand what we're doing is a teletherapy company and to expand what is available to our therapist, but I'll let Tasha speak a bit more to her role and how she engages with our services and therapists.
Yeah, absolutely. So Tasha, yeah, go ahead, introduce yourself a little bit and share your role within presence learning.
Sure, so I am Tasha Holmes, I am an Occupational Therapist, I've been an OT for almost 18 years. I've done pretty much at all hospitals, nursing homes, home health, pediatrics, geriatrics, the ages in between. So I've, you know, had a pretty well-rounded career, my husband used to be active duty in the Marine Corps prior to retiring. And so with the moving around, I've done traveling therapy as well. But you know, once we got married, and we started a family, it became a little bit tricky to keep moving and continue with my career, you know, I loved being able to work somewhere, but then you're there, you're invested, and then it's time to go. And so when I, you know, found out about presence learning, it was an excellent fit for me. At this point, I've worked with presence learning in three different states. And I've been able to, you know, just that continuity of having a place where I can, you know, hone my skills, learn something new, but continue to do that have that work-life balance, is the reason why this has been the longest company that I've been with, in my 18 years as an OT, like Kristin, I started out as a provider, so you know, doing evaluations and assessments, working with families and schools. I did that for about six years. And then this past year, in October of 2020, I became an employee. And so as Kristin was stating, we do have account managers that are licensed therapists, and they work directly with the districts and make sure that the day-to-day needs are met via the providers. I did that for a year along with another position where I was able to support providers directly through office hours and workshops. And now my position has changed a little bit more. I'm a Clinical Quality and Resource Manager. That's my official title. But I'm also the subject matter expert for OT, for telehealth at the company. And I think that's a really important role. Something that really sets you to know, us apart is that not only do I get to help support providers, but I also helped to give input as to how things are being shaped on the OT end to support providers. So that way, they're delivering the highest level most ethical services that they can provide for their students.
That's amazing. And I must admit, you know, it's not very often that I get to sit down and have a call with either an OT or speech granted, we have both today that have gone into a role of leadership, it's very hard within the schools, even outside and other settings, clinical practices, and, and in a hospital, for OTs and speech therapists to get into a leadership role. It just doesn't happen, especially in the schools, you know, we don't have a credential in most states. And so we're not even able to, but I just want to congratulate both of you for being in a role where you have had that opportunity to really grow as a leader. So that's, that's really awesome.
Yeah, thank you. Yeah, it is really exciting. And it is one of the other pieces that really drew me, kept me with presence learning once I learned about the company, and is that I did see opportunities where I could still be involved with what I loved as a speech-language pathologist, but also work as a mentor and as a coach and working with other, you know, people who are from completely different disciplines than myself outside of education outside of, you know, a clinical world. But really, all of that works to shape services for students. So it has been a really great opportunity.
Yeah, that's just awesome. All right. So I want to, Tasha I have a question for you. Obviously, as an occupational therapist, we always have some difficulty explaining our role as an OT, no one knows what we do. I think even fewer people know what we do when it comes to teletherapy. And so I want to ask you if you're at a party or at a gathering, whatever it might be, and someone asks you, what do you do as an occupational therapist for presence learning? How do you respond to that?
So I like to explain first because you do always have to start with that OTPs and I explained to them, occupation is everything that you do in your life from the time you wake up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night. So if you're having a problem with doing any of those activities, then OTs are there to assist and we assist based on what is limiting you from being able to complete those activities, so then I narrow it down to telehealth for pediatrics, we're looking at what does it look like for the day in the life for the student and so everything that that student needs to do from the time that they arrive at school until it's time for them to go home, we're taking a look at those different activities, and those activities that are keeping them from being able to participate in their academic program. We're addressing those needs, you know, within our huge scope of expertise. And that usually helps people a little bit better because they're like, Oh, well, so then kids, right, and they cut and they socialize, and they do all of these different activities and like, exactly. And then in the telehealth realm, not only are we looking at those particular activities, we're adding in the technological piece of helping the students access the help that they need. So whereas maybe they can access an OT on-site, that can help address their needs. That may not be the case for their particular district, for their particular medical situation, or their particular needs. And so telehealth helps to marry that access to be able to complete your academic program by addressing those deficits.
Definitely. And I love how you tie it in that technology piece. Obviously, we're sitting here at the end of 2021, which has been a crazy time for many schools, basically every school across the entire world. And so that leads kind of into the very next question that I wanted to ask you about is how things have changed or maybe not changed. I don't know, at presencelearning over the past two years since the pandemic started. And I don't know maybe Kristin, you want to share a little bit about how presence learning has adapted over the last few years?
Sure, absolutely. So, you know, of course, as a teletherapy company, we were founded in 2009. So we were around and providing remote services long before, you know, there was a pandemic, clearly. So we felt fortunate that we were in a position to provide help to be able to share expertise, share services because every