SLP Success Story
From Free Trial to True Believer
How digital assessments with real-time scoring improved the testing process for a North Carolina Speech-Language Pathologist
Ron Casterlow, MA, CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist
In 2016, Ron Casterlow, a speech-language pathologist, decided to open a private practice in order to administer speech-language evaluations for the Disability Determination Services (DDS) of North Carolina. Needing to buy testing kits, he started to do some research. "I got sticker shock when I realized that the paper kits were so expensive," he said. "So I did a little more digging."
The cost of two of the paper kits Casterlow would have needed for his practice was approximately nine times the cost of a Q-interactive license, although he would incur additional costs for the digital subtests he used, plus the cost of two iPads. However, when he considered the initial savings of purchasing a license vs. paper kits, he decided to give the digital system a try.
A Digital Solution
Taking advantage of the Q-interactive 30-day trial, Casterlow used the digital system for the five trial evaluations he had to complete to be approved as a DDS provider. DDS requires providers to submit reports within 10 days from the day of the evaluation. Using the digital system, Casterlow was able to turn around the reports in one–two days.
He was impressed with the system. "Everything was very smooth and seamless. The kids seemed to really be attentive to the testing process," he explained. Approved as a provider by the DDS, he decided to purchase a Q-interactive license for his practice, which he opened in June 2016.
In addition, Casterlow works as a speech-language pathologist for a NC school district, testing students in Pre-K through high school and providing speech therapy. The district's speech-language pathologists use paper assessments, making the benefits of digital assessment clear to him.
"Q-interactive has been a godsend. I can get the evaluations scored and the reports written in the limited time that I have."
According to Casterlow, being able to generate data through real-time scoring is the biggest benefit of using digital assessments. Given his full schedule on the days he works in the district and the time needed to hand-score paper tests, he struggles to find the time. It can take him four or five days to complete an evaluation. Using digital assessments, he can complete the scoring in one day.
The digital assessments also make the testing process more seamless. Using Q-interactive, Casterlow can easily set up the subtests he needs before he begins an evaluation.
"When [students] find out they're going to get to use one of my iPads, they just light up."
Casterlow has observed that "kids' attention with Q-interactive is a lot better than with the paper kit." That's in part because of the seamlessness of the testing process, but also because the use of iPads increases their engagement. "When they find out they're going to get to use one of my iPads, they just light up," he commented.
Casterlow has seen that students' increased engagement helps them stay focused during assessments. When he administers certain types of paper subtests for the CELF in his work for the district, some students have trouble following along. "But what I found with Q-interactive is that because they are more engaged, they are more attentive, and they're able to follow along a lot easier when it comes to those types of subtests that require them to point to or touch different items," he explained.