Local News

March 18, 2013

Murray students go online for speech therapy

CHATSWORTH — Nate Humble’s speech therapist isn’t in his classroom at Northwest Elementary School this day, but he will get a lesson nevertheless.


Nate is one of several special needs students at Northwest Elementary and Coker Elementary schools receiving therapy through PresenceLearning, an online speech and language program connecting students to off-site speech therapists by webcam.

Hollie Humble, Nate’s mother and receptionist at Northwest Elementary, said the program is “fantastic.”

“I have seen improvement,” she said. “Mainly ... it helps him with speech but also academics ... he gets a report card, we talk about it and I can see the improvement. The therapist tells him what letters and sound they’re working on — tells me words I can work with him on at home.”

That’s good news to Allison Oxford, director of instructional support services for the school system.

“Recent budget cuts and the resignation of one of our (therapists) left us with a hole,” she said in a press release. “PresenceLearning not only provides high quality speech therapy for our students, it also became a caseload management tool for us.

“Students love this program. It’s online – there’s a lot of games to play … as a school system we’re dealing with digital natives (a generation born into a technology-driven society). So students are loving the online aspect of PresenceLearning because it’s what they already do.”

But it might also be helpful to teachers and parents.

“Parents can go online and see the recordings of the therapy,” Oxford said. “I can go on and see progress and goals — the amount of time they’ve been served and progress on individual goals (logged by the therapists). It’s amazing the level of accountability it provides.”

Though Oxford declined to give the program’s price — paid through the school system’s general fund — it’s “comparable to hiring a contracted speech pathologist, which is about $65,000 a year, generally speaking.”

Whatever the pricing, Humble said it’s money well spent.

“It helps him (Nate) a lot,” she said. “I can see how it’s working. He is making progress because of this program.”

But it’s not for every student, Oxford said.

“You need an attention span and behavioral control so you can sit and attend for 30 minutes,” she said. “You need basic computer skills like how to use a mouse. For some of our more severe or profound kids … it’s not appropriate for them. We have seen positive results though. There’s no ending data yet, but it’s something that will help us with speech therapy.”

And with cost, she added.

“Like everyone else, we’re trying to cut costs anyway we can,” she said. “Fuel is so expensive …we want to minimize the cost anyway we can and spend it on instruction … it’s time and fuel and we want to cut.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Bugs and Kisses 1 mlh.jpg Local stores expect tax holiday to create lots of sales

    Local retailers say Georgia’s sales tax holiday weekends mean big business for them, and they are gearing up to capitalize on this year’s tax-free shopping on Friday and Saturday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Esme file mw 2.jpg Still fighting

    Ten-year-old Esme Miller was celebrated earlier this year for the way she’s handled a bout with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Historical photos of Murray County needed

    Maybe you have a photograph of a well-known preacher from the 1940s. Or maybe you have a photograph taken of a church choir from the 1920s.

    July 30, 2014

  • State DOT wants your input on transportation needs

    As state and national leaders consider alternatives for funding future transportation needs, the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know what Georgians would like in their 21st century transportation system and how they recommend paying for it.

    July 30, 2014

  • Jail for Justice Tour event here tonight

    The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, the NAACP-led multi-racial, multi-issue advocacy group, will host an event in partnership with the Georgia Dreamers Alliance, Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), Whitfield NAACP and the Whitfield County Democratic Party at Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center tonight from 5 to 9.

    July 30, 2014

  • Two charged with tampering with evidence in drug investigation

    Two people have been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the synthetic marijuana bust in February involving a Dalton business owner.

    July 30, 2014

  • Beaulieu to close operations for one week for inventory

    Floorcovering giant Beaulieu of America will conduct a physical inventory of its buildings and facilities next week, with only salaried employees reporting for work.

    July 30, 2014

  • Green spot closing 1 mlh.jpg A part of the family

    Larry Green can’t remember the exact date. But he says it was about 54 years ago when his father Marvin took him to see the new store he and his brother Herman had commissioned Red Jennings to build at 309 W. Emery St. in Dalton.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • New high school?

    The only means for “staying small” and preserving “The Dalton Way” in Dalton Public Schools may be through expansion, Superintendent Jim Hawkins said Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Bond denied for man arrested in synthetic marijuana bust

    A Dalton business owner charged in a synthetic marijuana bust was denied bond Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014