Amanda Blackwell, SLPD, CCC-SLP, is a bilingual speech-language pathologist (SLP) living in Antigua, Guatemala. Blackwell is the founder of DIGNA International, a non-profit vocational training program for adults with disabilities, and LUNA Autismo, an autism education project for Spanish speakers. A graduate of the Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology program at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP), Blackwell was the first of six presenters during a two-day conference on March 23 called SLP Telecon, where SLPs from around the globe learned best practices in teletherapy from other SLPs.
Blackwell, who has been working as a teletherapist for public schools in Washington and California since 2018, was invited by a colleague to be a presenter because she knew that Blackwell was actively involved in teletherapy. Her presentation, “Warp Speed Download: Essential Info to Jumpstart Your Teletherapy Practice,” focused on ways to continue providing essential, high-quality services for clients while they are in their homes.
“Teletherapy,” explained Blackwell, “is an evidence-based service delivery model that allows clients and therapists to interact in a fun and engaging way while targeting specific speech and language goals.” Through her presentation, she hoped that SLPs would learn “essential tips and strategies that would leave them feeling confident and prepared to launch their teletherapy practice.”
After the presentation, Blackwell received positive feedback through hundreds of emails from SLPs around the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada “who are being thrown into teletherapy.” She added, “It has been watched by at least 50,000 SLPs who registered for the course, and I know that many have shared it with their special education staff as well in order to help everyone get ideas in order to provide high-quality services for their students and families.”
But Blackwell didn’t stop there. She translated her presentation and presented it again for her colleagues and SLPs in Spanish-speaking countries, as well as posted it on YouTube for further viewing. It currently has more than 2,500 views. Afterward, she received more positive feedback from SLPs in other countries, including Spain, Colombia, and Mexico. “I am genuinely happy to be able to help out my colleagues around the world during this unprecedented time in our world,” said Blackwell.
With years of teletherapy experience, Blackwell continues to share her expertise. She’ll be presenting again in two weeks on teletherapy platforms such as Doxy.me and Google Meet. Her expertise in teletherapy has benefited thousands of SLPs around the globe, particularly during the time of COVID-19 where many are having to adapt and be creative to continue providing speech and language services to patients.