Millions of children with special needs across the U.S. may be going without services due to school closures and limits on face-to-face health care services. With the dramatic rise in the need for teletherapy and remote learning due to COVID-19, along with the recent CARES federal stimulus package to ease the burden on schools and service providers across the country, a new set of training and certification programs for these professionals was recently announced.
While the technology to implement teletherapy and telehealth has been in place for quite some time, research shows that less than 5 percent of therapists and special educators have been properly trained on how to deliver services virtually. In addition, there is a wide variance in the way it is practiced by therapists and providers when working with individuals on different platforms. The result is children all over the country are without the necessary services required to help them with the challenges presented by autism and other cognitive and learning disorders.
Telepractice can be effective and improve efficiency and accessibility of services to individuals who might not otherwise have services from a qualified provider. Now more than ever, we need access to education and training in telehealth to ensure that the quality of the services delivered via telepractice is consistent with the quality of services delivered face to face,” said Dr. Pam Rollins, a speech language pathologist and professor at University of Texas-Dallas.
There is now training and certification specifically for telepractice offered by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to empower professionals when working on these platforms to deliver much-needed services and therapies while maintaining compliance with federal and state regulations on special education requirements and teletherapy best practices.
“Access to health care and special educational services must be a priority for all of us. We are excited to offer therapists and special educators all over the globe the training and certification they need to effectively deliver high-quality services in a virtual format,” said Myron Pincomb, board chairman of IBCCES.
Since 2001, IBCCES has created industry standards for professionals who work with students with autism and other cognitive disorders. IBCCES worked with industry leaders to create the global standard for telepractice that will enable better therapeutic results and learning gains for individuals with special needs who receive services via teletherapy. The certification programs meet federal guidelines for CARES stimulus funding as well as Title I, Title II and IDEA sources.
The IBCCES certification programs, titled the Board Certified Telepractice Specialist and Certified Telepractice Facilitator, cover topics such as licensing, compliance, technology, assessment, facilitation, special education, scheduling, as well as other key areas of competency.
“The current pandemic highlights the need for professionals to be able to provide quality services in a virtual setting. Students may need virtual services for a variety of reasons, not just due to the current state of affairs. Virtual services allow a continuity of services and continued growth of the student, when face-to-face meetings are not available, regardless of the reason,” said Brandy Killian, a licensed school psychologist for a school district in Florida.
For more information, visit https://ibcces.org.