Rules were made to evolve. I respect and adhere to rules, policies, and best practice strategies. At the same time, I believe that is essential to grow with what we know. As technology, research, and experience provide us with new solutions, let’s embrace the opportunity to step forward for the good of all. Through building relationships with SLPs and communities on an international level, I realized that I have a unique challenge. The challenge is not finding people in need of therapy services. The challenge is not finding excellent SLPs for my team. The challenges I face are RULES...rules that were authored before on-line therapy existed. It is clear that these rules were written to protect and organize all that is good about speech-language pathology services. Now that the internet enables people to see and hear each other in real time, face to face, continent to continent, geographical boundaries do not limit human interaction as they once did. Add secure on-line therapy software and a skilled SLP – you will have quality therapy services that really improve people’s lives, regardless of where they live...if the rules let you.
It seems to be common knowledge that more students need therapy than there are SLPs to help. Ironically, I receive resumes every day from SLPs who want to connect with students for regular on-line therapy; however, sometimes the available SLPs live far away from the students’ region. Great therapists...great need....wrong region. The therapist needs to be licensed in the region where the student receives the service. (I resort to my quote: Problems are not excuses...they are simply a road map for moving forward.) So I help my therapists apply for a licence in the stated region – no problem. The hard part is the long wait to receive the licence and, in some cases, the rigidity of the application requirements that do not consider that the therapist does not nor never will live in that region – and that it would be tricky for her or him just to pop into the region for fingerprints. Another challenge is that the legislation in a few regions has not been updated to support on-line therapy for increasing services to communities. Again – great therapists...great need...on-line therapy not endorsed by the rules.
Change requires time, compassion, education, and compromise. Sometimes it needs a leap of faith. Today, I had an inspiring chat with a representative of an organization, which helps to create the rules. Through building a relationship, showing each other respect, and offering a good listening ear, we learned a lot about one another’s position with on-line therapy. With a common interest in providing only the highest quality of service to our clients, we started the conversation about next steps for reaching the residents in the region.
Starting a conversation is good – no need to finish it right away. Instead, continue learning about each other and finding a common ground. When passionate hearts join forces for the good of all...that’s when good things happen.
Have a Great Day,