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Success Stories out of the Institute of Education Sciences' SBIR Program: Presence

A screen shot of Presence Flash Cards

Last Updated: April, 2023


Presence (formerly Presence Learning) is a provider of teletherapy solutions for children with diverse needs. Presence connects speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, behavior and mental health specialists, school psychologists, and diagnosticians to thousands of schools, districts, and organizations nationwide via their proprietary technology platform that was purpose-built for teletherapy and teleassessment delivery and management.

Research and Development:

During the Phase I SBIR project in 2010, the team developed a prototype of a web-based platform that speech language pathologists (SLPs) use to deliver remote speech therapy sessions with students with speech and sound disabilities. The prototype included video and audio multi-party conferencing and chatting technologies and tools such as whiteboards for writing and slideshows for sharing notecards and pictures. The architecture also included a portal for recruiting and screening a network of remote SLPs, professional development training modules for speech therapists using the platform, and tools to support practitioners during the sessions, including intake forms used by the SLPs to track student progress during sessions.

At the end of Phase I, researchers conducted a pilot study over 10 weeks with two SLPs and 13 students ages 6 to 11 with a diagnosis of a speech sound disability and who were enrolled in the SLPs' caseload. The team found that the prototype functioned as planned as no sessions were canceled due to challenges or issues with the technology prototype. In addition, SLPs and students reported being able to use the technology platform, and the platform consistently generated an encrypted audio and video feed to support speech language therapy services to children. Results from interviews indicated that all SLPs agreed that students were able to make progress towards meeting their Individualized Education Plan goals and objectives using the web-delivered sessions compared to progress that would have been made during in-person sessions. All students agreed that the online sessions were acceptable for speech therapy and that they were engaged during the online sessions. Finally, between the start and end of the study, students demonstrated a pre- to post-test increase in scores on the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation-2 (GFTA-2) for targeted speech sounds, a commonly used standardized assessment of speech sound production.

Presence completed the full-scale development of its platform for remote speech therapy and completed more research after the SBIR award. Results from a randomized controlled trial with 256 children ages 6 to 16 compared in person administration of speech therapy to remote delivery using the Presence platform. In all but one pre-post measures of cognitive achievement, results were equivalent between the groups, demonstrating that the online and remote session shows promise as a viable alternative to traditional in-person delivery of services.


Presence is a provider of teletherapy solutions for children with diverse needs. The company was founded in 2009, and its technology platform that enables teletherapy, tele-assessment delivery and case management was launched in 2014. Since then, the company's growing network of over 2,000 clinicians have delivered more than 5 million teletherapy sessions to students in over 7,700 schools and districts across 45 states. Presence is backed by Spectrum Equity, TPG's Rise Fund and Bain Capital Double Impact.


  • Wright, A. J. (2020). Equivalence of remote, digital administration and traditional, in-person administration of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fifth Edition (WISC-V). Psychological Assessment, 32(9), 809–817.