Teletherapy keeps local children progressing, therapists employed

Posted at 3:15 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 19:50:21-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan.  — Local speech and language pathologists are continuing to work despite COVID-19 in order to prevent children from regressing.

“To try to keep something regular for these families was really, really important for us and to continue providing these services," said Jennie Bjorem, owner of Children's Therapy Services in Overland Park.

It was a quick decision for Bjorem, who owns Children's Therapy Services. She told 41 Action News that within 24 hours, therapists had made the switch from in-person therapy to teletherapy, meaning online.

“Everybody’s having to move to teletherapy," Bjorem said. "So we’re doing this as one big huge community, is how do we take our schools and our private practices and change that in-person format over to a teletherapy format?"

Bjorem said she and her employees kept working and adjusting to the coronavirus pandemic to provide some normalcy to families, but also to keep their business running and employees working.

“We didn’t want to slow things down," Bjorem said. "We wanted to stay the same pace with our families, really let our families know that we’re in this with you, we’re figuring it out. So that’s why we personally jumped in with both feet."

For 30 minutes per day, Bjorem teaches online lessons to seven to 10 children. Bjorem told 41 Action News that number is only slightly lower than before the pandemic.

“How we are going to keep young kids engaged and how we’re going to partner with families and what it’s going to look like, so that we’re continuing to provide the top notch services that we’ve always provided in a face-to-face type situation over a computer, " she said. "So it’s been a very interesting journey the past two weeks."

One of the biggest worries for families was whether or not their insurance company would cover the cost of teletherapy. Bjorem told 41 Action News that most insurance companies she's working with, which include Blue Cross Blue Shield, Tricare and Cigna, will.