TEA Helps Solve a Critical COVID-19 Special Education Distance Learning Challenge
AUSTIN, Texas – May 6, 2020 – The Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced today that its partnership with AmplioSpeech, a leading provider of speech pathology technology, has reached 10,000 Texas students with special education needs. The collaboration is a response to the COVID-19-related shutdown of school campuses statewide and equips school districts with digital speech and language therapy programs, which ensures that students needing such services are receiving them via at-home learning.
With COVID-19 forcing students and teachers out of the classroom for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year, school systems across Texas had to figure out how best to stand up systems for at-home instruction. Among the greatest challenge that schools have faced is finding the most effective way to serve students with special education needs when classroom learning is not an option.
TEA’s partnership with AmplioSpeech greatly aids such efforts. The platform allows licensed Speech-Language Pathologists to interact remotely with students to provide speech therapy required by the student’s special education individual education program. TEA made the tool available for free for school systems who signed up to enroll the first 10,000 students in the service.
Within 24 hours, more than 100 school systems had signed up. Hundreds of trained SLPs are enlisted to provide students with a range of speech-language services. Additionally, in the event some schools need more helping hands during this time, AmplioSpeech makes available its own trained and licensed SLPs. TEA also ensured that the tool could be scaled up by school systems themselves to support every special education student in need of remote speech therapy support. There are more than 250,000 Texas students currently eligible for speech services.
“TEA immediately identified the need for a solid solution to help vulnerable students during this unprecedented crisis,” says Dr. Yair Shapira, Founder and CEO of AmplioSpeech. “As a father to a child who stutters, I was moved by TEA’s clear focus on students’ vital everyday needs. Their decisive commitment to put our unique technologies in the hands of dedicated Texas SLPs is making a world of difference for thousands of Texas kids.”
A speech-language deficiency can lead to poor academic performance. AmplioSpeech’s technology supports online speech-language therapy for SLP students to minimize their risk of falling behind academically, or losing any progress made throughout the normal school year. Additionally, the program automates and guarantees compliance, progress, and billing-related documentation to give speech language pathologists more time to focus on what matters most: serving students.
This tool joins a host of resources created by TEA and it’s Special Education Taskforce to support students in special education during the COVID-19 disruption, which can be found online at https://tea.texas.gov/texas-schools/health-safety-discipline/covid/covid-19-support-special-education-0.
Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said, “TEA is committed to ensuring strong support is provided to students in special education. As schools grapple with providing high quality remote instruction to all students, this tool helps solve a critical problem to improve education for hundreds of thousands of Texas kids.”
The vast spread of COVID-19 has caused significant compliance challenges for school districts nationwide. The TEA-AmplioSpeech partnership is providing an innovative way to engage students with speech and language therapy needs, supporting large caseloads remotely, effectively allocating SLPs’ instructional time and support, documenting progress, and contributing valuable monitoring and oversight services during this particularly challenging period for students and their families.