Broadband supports speech therapy in Stevens County Minnesota

We heard briefly about Stevens County’s plans as part of their involvement with Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities initiative (led by the Blandin Foundation). I was excited to see follow up in the Chokio Review on a project that had caught my eye – remote speech therapy in 9 West Central Minnesota Public School Systems (Browns Valley, Chokio-Alberta, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, Cyrus, Hancock, Herman-Norcross, Morris Area, West Central Area, and Wheaton).

It looks as if the project is up and running. The Chokio Review highlighted how it was making a difference with at least one teacher. Eileen Bliss is the Chokio-Alberta speech language clinician. She works two days a week – previously at one location, but the new VidyoTherapy is allowing her to “teleport” into the schools one day a week.

VidyoTherpay sets up cameras at each location. Students and teachers each wear headphones; Bliss reports that the sound quality is clear and accurate. Before investing in the system the school district spoke to others who had used the system and found that remote therapy was at least as successful ad face-to-face support. Because kids for the most part are so familiar with computers, they are drawn to the system immediately and have no problems. The adults too report that they have had little difficulty getting the system up and functioning properly.

The system has improve efficiency for staff, providing flexibility for students and is building a sustainable method for reaching folks in rural areas. Apparently a shortage of speech clinicians is predicting – and having a system in place will help students in Stevens County ensure that they get the services they need.

This entry was posted in Blandin Foundation, education, MIRC, MN, Rural by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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