Q&A for Schools

"Lighthouse Therapy services are provided by experienced therapists who care about students first! We partner with parents and educators to bring out the best in each student!"

Erin O'Connell, School Psychologist
What does Lighthouse Therapy do?

Lighthouse Therapy provides online interactive therapy related services for special education students from early intervention - 12th. Our services include Speech-Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Behavioral and Mental Health Services. These services include direct, group, makeup, and consultation services as well as screenings and tests. Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), Occupational Therapists (OTs), Licensed Social Workers (LSWs), School Counselors, Board Certified Behavioral Analysts (BCBA), and School Psychologists (School Psychs) provide high quality, evidenced-based services on our web-based secure platform, using the latest in online tools and activities.

What problems does Lighthouse Therapy address?
Critical shortages of skilled clinicians in school populations are well documented. Recruitment and retention of these clinicians are costly and time-consuming. Schools are required by federal mandates to provide sufficient services to students but fall short due to the scarcity of qualified personnel in their geographic location. These shortages and recruitment costs place a burden on school budgets and add stress to school personnel attempting to fill these positions. Clinicians often have to carry an extra heavy load due to these shortages and that leads to poor job satisfaction and burn out.
What solutions to district problems does Lighthouse Therapy provide?

Lighthouse Therapy gives you access to highly qualified and licensed SLPs, OTs, LSWs, School Counselors, BCBAs, and School Psychs. Given the nature of online services, geographical restraints are eliminated. Our school partners are fully staffed within their district. In most cases, having adequate coverage for services improves overall student outcomes.

What Assessments do you have available?
Psychoeducational Assessments

Academic Achievement

Woodcock-Johnson IV: Tests of Academic Achievement (WJ-IV Ach)

Academic Achievement Battery (AAB)

Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement- Third Edition (KTEA-3)

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test- Fourth Edition (WIAT-4)

Adaptive Behavior

Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales- Third Edition (Vineland-3)

Adaptive Behavior Assessment System, Third Edition (ABAS-3)

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Sensory Profile 2

Autism Spectrum Rating Scales (ASRS)

Cognitive/ IQ

Woodcock-Johnson IV: Tests of Cognitive Abilities (WJ-IV Cog)

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children- Fifth Edition (WISC-V)

Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales- Second Edition (RIAS-2)

Reynolds Intellectual Screening Test- Second Edition (RIST-2)

Comprehensive Test of Nonverbal Intelligence- Second Edition (CTONI-2)


Developmental Profile 4 (DP-4) **Fall 2020 release

Executive Functioning

Brown Executive Function/ Attention Scales

Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function- Second Edition ADHD Form (BRIEF-2)

Processing Abilities

Test of Visual Perceptual Skills- Fourth Edition (TVPS-4)

Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing- Second Edition (CTOPP-2)

The Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration- Sixth Edition (VMI-6)

Woodcock-Johnson IV: Tests of Oral Language

TAPS-4: A Language Processing Skills Assessment

Social-Emotional/ Behavioral

Behavior Assessment System for Children- Third Edition (BASC-3)

Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI)

Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II)

Beck Youth Inventories-2 (BYI-2)

Occupational Therapy Assessments

The Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration- Sixth Edition (VMI-6)

Sensory Profile- 2

Test of Visual Perceptual Skills- Fourth Edition (TVPS-4)

Sensory Processing Measure

Sensory Processing Measure Preschool

Speech-Language Assessments

Comprehensive Evaluation of Language Fundamentals 5 (CELF5)

Comprehensive Evaluation of Language Fundamentals 5 Metalinguistics (CELF5 Meta)

Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals Preschool 3 (CELF Preschool-3)

Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language Second Edition  (CASL2)

Clinical Assessment of Pragmatics (CAPs)

Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation 3 (GFTA3)

Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation- Third Edition (GFTA-3), Spanish

Khan-Lewis Phonological Analysis 3 (KLPA3)

Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Fifth Edition (PPVT5)

Expressive Vocabulary Test, Third Edition (EVT3)


How big of a shortage of therapists are there and how is Telepractice helping?

The following is an excerpt from February 2019.

This first section demonstrates the “chronic shortages” throughout the country.

“It is now estimated that 6.7 million public school students in the United States currently receive special education services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP; U.S. Department of Education & National Center for Education Statistics, 2018). Of that, 20% of students are diagnosed with a speech and language impairment (U.S. Department of Education & National Center for Education Statistics, 2018) and may be in need of services to support their academic growth and development. As the need for direct and indirect speech and language services increases, so does the need for highly qualified personnel to deliver those services and engage in other essential professional obligations. The demand for highly qualified personnel creates problematic issues as there is a chronic shortage of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) nationwide (American Association of Employment in Education, 2017), and many school-based SLPs are overburdened by their current workload (Wheat, 2018).”

The use of telepractice has been shown to be an effective way to alleviate these SLP shortages.

“Telepractice, in conjunction with onsite services, can be a reliable and effective workload management method for school-based SLPs and other educators who travel to multiple schools. The use of telepractice does not supplant onsite services but rather supports school-based clinicians' ability to maximize their time, efforts, and expertise in an effort to effectively manage their workload. The strategic use of technology enables service providers to deliver services, collaborate, and communicate with students and colleagues, regardless of their geographical location.”

Telepractice for School-Based Speech and Language Services: A Workload Management Strategy

Michelle K. Boisvert and Nerissa Hall

Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, February 2019

How does online therapy work?
Online therapy works on a secure, HIPAA, FERPA, and COPPA compliant video conferencing platform. The services are provided live with both the student and the clinician logged and interacting with the use of high-quality video and audio feed. The sessions are done in real time and are provided according to the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). All of our fully licensed and credentialed therapists are trained and familiar with online services and provide engaging and clinically relevant activities based on the needs of their students. Our therapists also handle scheduling and the school provides an on-site student support specialist who brings the student to therapy sessions, logs the student into the session, assists with clinical, behavioral, and technical needs during the services.
What equipment is needed?
A computer or iPad with an Internet connection, an up-to-date browser (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari are supported), a webcam, and an audio headset. The platform is entirely web-based, and there is no software to install or maintain. Setup is minimal and training is provided by our service team.
What are the technical specifications for online therapy through Lighthouse Therapy?

Lighthouse Therapy is compatible with:

  • Google Chrome version 28 and later on any device except iPad or iPhone
  • Firefox version 25.0.1 and later on any device except iPad or iPhone
  • Safari on Mac macOS 10.12 Sierra or later
  • Safari on iPad or iPhone iOS 11 or later

Our online test will check your camera, mic, and Internet connection to see how well your device will work with Lighthouse Therapy. If others using your Internet connection are watching a video or uploading a file this could reduce your video quality.

Are you using a content/website filter? If there is a content/website filter on your network or computer, you must enable (whitelist) the following domains and subdomains:

  • lighthousetherapy.bswl.app
  • opentok.com
  • tokbox.com
  • blinkmedia.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com

If you have a firewall rule(s) to block certain network traffic you must allow the following:

  • ws://ws.pusherapp.com on port 80
  • wss://ws.pusherapp.com on port 443
Where can Lighthouse Therapy provide services – What states?

Due to the nature of online therapy services, Lighthouse Therapy can provide services to any state in the United States. Our therapists are licensed and credentialed in the state in which they live and in the states in which they provide services.

(Lighthouse therapy also maintains the NPA certification requirement in California.)

How does the quality of Lighthouse Therapy services compare to face to face services?

The effectiveness of telepractice as a service delivery model in the schools is well documented. Online speech teletherapy service outcomes are equal to face to face therapy services. Telepractice has been studied extensively and our therapists report and have experienced similar outcomes consistently.

Gabel, R., Grogan-Johnson, S., Alvares, R., Bechstein, L., & Taylor, J. (2013). A field study of telepractice for school intervention using the ASHA NOMS K-12 database. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 35, 44–53.

Grogan-Johnson, S., Alvares, R., Rowan, L., & Creaghead, N. (2010). A pilot study comparing the effectiveness of speech language therapy provided by telemedicine with conventional on-site therapy. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 16, 134–139.

Grogan-Johnson, S., Gabel, R., Taylor, J., Rowan, L., Alvarex, R., & Schenker, J. (2011). A pilot exploration of speech sound disorder intervention delivered by telehealth to school-age children. International Journal of Telerehabilitation, 3, 31–42.

Grogan-Johnson, S., Schmidt, A., Schenker, Alvares, R., Rowan, L., & Taylor, J. (2013). A comparison of speech sound intervention delivered by telepractice and side-by-side service delivery models. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 34, 210–220.

Lewis, C., Packman, A., Onslow, M., Simpson, J., & Jones, M. (2008). A Phase II trial of telehealth delivery of the Lidcombe Program of Early Stuttering Intervention. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 17, 139–149.

McCullough, A. (2001). Viability and effectiveness of teletherapy for pre-school children with special needs. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 36, 321–326.

In addition, parents, clients, and clinicians report satisfaction with telepractice as a mode of service delivery. Parents of students at Lighthouse Therapy have also noted similar satisfaction with our online services.

Crutchley, S., & Campbell, M. (2010). Telespeech therapy pilot project: Stakeholder satisfaction. International Journal of Telerehabilitation, 2, 23–30.

McCullough, A. (2001). Viability and effectiveness of teletherapy for pre-school children with special needs. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 36, 321–326.

How are the therapists qualified?

We are a therapist run company that hires only highly qualified therapists. All of our therapists are fully credentialed providers with experience working in the school setting. SLPs must have a Master’s degree; OTs must have a grandfathered Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate degree; and our behavioral and mental health professionals must have Master’s degrees. All of our professionals are fully licensed.

Beyond how the clinician looks on paper, our therapists must have a heart for children and the clinical knowledge and independent personal skills to deliver the best possible outcomes for our students. We offer paid orientation and one on one mentoring for the therapists. They are knowledgeable about our services and platform; ready to deliver engaging and caring services. We encourage and support continuous growth and improvement through networking and random session observations and documentation audits. We encourage our staff to ask questions and give feedback. Our CEO often says, “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. If you don’t know the answer, then you need to ask the question.”

Our goal is to support our therapists in such a way that they are free to provide top-level services to all students. If our therapists feel they are appreciated and well compensated, they then spend all their energy delivering the kind of online services and teamwork that impact the outcomes of the students through the therapy process.

What are therapists and school districts saying about Lighthouse Therapy services?

“Lighthouse Therapy has provided our organization with dependable, reliable, and professional, related services. What separates Lighthouse Therapy from other vendors, is their terrific customer service and quality human character.”– Tim Ribota, Ed. S., Director of Student Services, Pacific Charter Institute

“Janet pays attention to how many students we had the previous year, and has the therapists to cover services for ALL the students when school starts the next year”– Jacqueline Whitney, Lone Pine, California

“Lighthouse Therapy CARES!! They care about students first and foremost but also care about parents, schools, and therapists. Lighthouse Therapy services are provided by experienced therapists who care about students first! We partner with parents and educators to bring out the best in each student!” - Erin O'Connell, Ed.S., NCSP - Nationally Certified School Psychologist

Are there cost benefits for schools?
Lighthouse Therapy provides all the recruiting, licensing assistance, and hiring of therapists needed to fill open positions at no additional cost to the school. By using teletherapy services, schools are no longer limited to local geographical constraints. We have a larger pool of therapists, which also allows for greater access to therapists with clinical specialties and cultural diversity. School districts also save on paying for travel time and expenses between school locations. By using a student support specialist, there is no lost therapy time due to student transportation time. Therapists are freed up from traveling and this gives them more time to focus on treatment services, educational priorities, and reporting.
How does this benefit children and families?

Lighthouse Therapy Staff truly cares about the children and families we serve! We want to make sure that every child gets the services they need to be successful!

Children love technology. They don’t know a world that does not include digital games, information, and learning. Many times the students are more comfortable with computers than their parents! Often, the students are less intimidated by meeting a new therapist online than having to go with a new unfamiliar adult to the therapy room.

Parents have direct access to their children’s therapist creating better communication and more opportunities for interaction. The parents are able to log in and observe the online session from a convenient location. Service providers can upload homework, email the parents, share therapeutic activities and outcomes directly through the platform. This allows parents a transparent view of what their child is doing and the progress they are making. It also allows for greater carry over outside of the therapy session. Students and parents can also upload homework, have a virtual “show and tell” with therapists, and develop a deeper team approach to the therapy services they are being provided. There is a higher level of engagement available with the tools provided through the Lighthouse Therapy Platform.

How does this benefit therapists?
Lighthouse Therapy realizes that therapists are at the heart of everything we do. We are not a company that matches therapists to school contracts then offers no further assistance. We are a company run by therapists, for therapists, for the betterment of students. We are here to support our therapists and make sure they have all the tools and administrative support to focus on what they love to do best, work with great kids! This is what sets us apart!
What sets Lighthouse Therapy apart from other providers of online therapy and special education solutions?
Lighthouse Therapy cares about your students. We want to be the best by offering the best communication and an integrated teamwork approach. We provide accessibility to stellar therapists that are valued by us so that they can provide the highest level of service to your team. Our solutions are driven by your needs!
How do Lighthouse Therapists become a part of the IEP team for students?
Lighthouse therapists work in much the same way as your on the ground therapists. We can attend meetings via our secure platform or by your video conferencing software. They communicate with all members of the team via our platform’s integrated email system, by telephone, and by completing documentation directly to the districts IEP system when provided access. Reports and documentation can also be easily accessed on the students’ records that administrators and IEP team members are given secure access to from Lighthouse Therapy. Open and consistent communication are the keys to our integration into the IEP teams for your district’s students.
What evidence supports telepractice services for school-age students?

“There are no inherent limits to where telepractice can be implemented as long as services comply with national, state, institutional, and professional regulations and policies.” ASHA. (n.d.) “Telepractice”. ASHA. Retrieved from https://www.asha.org/practice-portal/professional-issues/telepractice/ American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA)

“In addition, practicing according to standards and guidelines published in several AOTA official documents can promote the safe and effective delivery of occupational therapy services via telehealth technology. By adhering to the highest level of ethical standards, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants can join other health care providers in using technological advances to better serve their clients.” American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). (n.d.) “Telehealth”. The american occupational therapy association advisory opinion for the ethics commission. Retrieved from https://www.aota.org/-/media/Corporate/Files/Practice/Ethics/Advisory/telehealth-advisory.pdf

“What we’ve seen is that telehealth is essentially just as effective as face-to-face psychotherapy—and retention rates are higher,” says David Mohr, PhD, director of the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, who has spent his career studying telepsychology and digital mental health. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/07/cover-telepsychology

Telepractice services have been recognized as an effective form of therapy by all 50 states.

What tools are available on the Lighthouse Therapy platform?
The Lighthouse Therapy Platform provides a plethora of tools and activities that is constantly expanding. We have a full complement of activities that can be used to create sessions tailor made for students. These tools include Flashcards, PDFs , Word Documents , PowerPoint , Matching Games, and Board Games. Our interactive white board allows all participants to point, draw, type, and use more than 4,800 built-in movable icons (emojis). The white board can be used independently or right on top of any of the resources (card sets, pdfs, etc.), screen share, or even videos. And the best feature: save and load white boards; up to 50 saved boards per student!
How are students supervised in sessions? What is the role of the Student Support Specialist?

A Student Support Specialist, usually a para-pro or teacher assistant, are responsible for getting the students to the computer, logging into the platform or meeting room, and troubleshooting any problems. They take on the responsibilities of working in coordination with the therapist to make sure the student attends and completes activities as directed by the therapist. As therapists, we refer to these people as our “hands and feet” at the school site.

Lighthouse Therapy will provide training for Student Support Specialists specific to our platform and answer any questions they may have.

How many children can participate in a group session?
At Lighthouse Therapy, we limit the group size to a max of 3 students on separate computers or a max of 2 students on the same computer. Group sessions can be a very effective and successful way for students to receive the highest benefit from therapy sessions. However, we always do what is clinically appropriate for students based on their individualized needs. As professional clinicians, it is our opinion that a group larger than 3 students is difficult to effectively execute in the telepractice model. Thus, we recognize this limitation and proceed accordingly.
Are all students appropriate for online therapy services?
Teletherapy services are appropriate for the majority of students needs, including preschoolers, severely impaired students, and students with AAC devices. There are occasions where an in-person therapist may be warranted. These cases are rare but we will ALWAYS recommend the best clinical situation for a student’s needs.
Why are school districts using online therapy?

The reason school districts have chosen online therapy are as varied as the number and types of districts. Originally, schools were choosing to use online therapy as a “last resort” when an on the ground therapist was not available as is often the case due to the critical shortage of skilled clinicians. However, there has been a shift in recent years, as districts have begun to partner with online providers and seeing the power and effectiveness of teletherapy services. Many use a blended model of in person and online services to meet their needs. Others have started with teletherapy as a stop-gap measure and have been so pleased with the results that they have continued to use online services exclusively.

At Lighthouse Therapy, we are solutions focused and want to provide services that will work with your district’s model, whatever that may be.

How secure is your platform so the student information is kept private?
The Lighthouse Therapy Platform is committed to you and your client's security and privacy. We utilize many security measures to protect confidential information including at-rest encryption and 256-bit in-transit data encryption. We also meet and follow all HIPAA, FERPA, and COPPA policies including those related to personal identifiable information.
Can parents observe their child’s session?
Yes! Parents are encouraged to observe their student’s session should they wish to participate. They will be provided a secure login to join their student’s session from wherever they are at the time of the session. As with any session, they will have to log in using an approved web browser. Parents will only have access to their student’s information and active sessions.
How are students and therapists matched?
Our therapists are matched with students based on the states in which they are licensed, the type of services needed, hours required, and schedule matching. We can match a therapist who specializes in an area of need for students not based on geographical availability. This is one of the best features of online services! The assigned provider will see your students based on the service requirements stated on the students IEP, and will develop a rapport similar to working together on-site. Students, parents, and districts can often request the same provider year after year, and we have bilingual providers who can meet the needs of English Language Learners and American Sign Language students.
What happens if there are technical difficulties?
With the Lighthouse Therapy Platform, you will receive a very high level of help and support. Built into the core of our business is a commitment to see our schools succeed providing therapy online. For this reason, technical support will be provided via dedicated phone line with a live tech support specialist.
What is the students' age range provided by Lighthouse Therapy?

Lighthouse therapy specializes in PreK - 12th-grade students, as well as 0-3 Early Intervention Services. All students within a developmental age range from 0-21 years old.

How long are the typical therapy session?
Therapy session lengths are based on the duration and frequency indicated in the student’s IEP. The average tends to be 3o minutes once a week but again this is based solely on the needs of the student and not the availability of the therapist.
Can you do initial and three-year assessments?

Yes. Lighthouse Therapy provides a variety of standardized assessments and informal assessments for every discipline we provide to meet the needs for initial and three-year reassessments. Our therapists are competent with the administration of these assessments and the ethical administration of assessments through the online format.

The assessment reports provided are comprehensive and address all areas related to the student's educational and functional needs.  By taking a comprehensive approach to testing, the possibility of a child's deficit being overlooked is eliminated.

Can Lighthouse Therapy use the school’s existing reporting system for IEPs and progress reports?
Yes. IEP reporting and progress reports are provided in a way that works best for school districts. Most often, the districts to provide a unique username and password and access to their existing reporting system the same as they would an on the ground therapist.
Can Lighthouse Therapy provide Case Management services?

Yes, we can. Our therapists can perform all Case Management services.

Depending on the districts needs, our therapists can provide any aspect of case management. Our therapists can write and manage the IEP, conduct IEP meetings, affirm the IEP, whatever is needed. They will ensure secure communication between parents, teachers, and other members of the IEP team. The therapists can attend all IEP meetings virtually-either through our platform, another video conference system, or a telephone conference. The comfort level of the school is the only limiter for our therapists. By providing them access to the district’s online IEP system, they will be able to supply student information and progress reports.

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