Parallel Learning expands distance special education assessment and tutoring in $20 million rounds.


If your child is having problems at school, one of the standard steps is to schedule an assessment for dyslexia, ADHD, or any condition that may require special access. But with teachers and psychologists overworked and in short supply, Parallel Learning is hoping remote options can help kids get back on track with less lag, raising $20 million to expand reach into new states.

The New York-based company began when it became clear that a new approach was needed in assessment and treatment. Over the past few years, if your child needs an evaluation, he or she will be evaluated and offered tutoring or accommodation.

However, the number of children eligible for special education has increased in recent years, and school districts are struggling to keep up with assessments, let alone special education meeting the needs of this growing population. Parents may have to wait half a year for their child to receive a formal diagnosis or recommendation, during which time children may have trouble reading, following classes, or socializing with their peers. And that was pre-pandemic, when these numbers soared even higher, along with comorbidities like depression and anxiety.

Parallel provides the same types of services that school districts and parents have used in the past in telemedicine settings.

“We didn’t reinvent the wheel. We’re sticking with research that’s already been done,” said the CEO and founder. Diana Heldpond. “It’s a proven way to help children overcome all these challenges. We’re thinking about how we can make it better, and how we can create tools that better communicate that curriculum.”

The assessment and tutoring process works much the same as before the school contracted a local private psychologist to conduct face-to-face interviews. Parallel is making the same transition online that it has done in other medical and professional fields in the past two years without speed bumps. The alternative, however, is essentially the neglect of children on a large scale.

Screenshot of the parallel learning tutoring and assessment interface.

“It’s just an extreme shortage of real suppliers.” Heldpond said. “The reality is that not all students reach the qualifying level. And overall, teachers have been overburdened over the past few years. Special education teachers used to have a case load of 30, but now they see it as 60. It’s a technology platform and we can use our suppliers’ time efficiently.”

Parallel employs providers in assessment and special education competencies to first allow for faster assessment processing and then optionally provide additional assistance. However Heldpond I quickly realized that this was not a diagnostic factory.

“We work with partners who have complete clinical teams that assemble these test materials, and are widely accepted for evaluation in schools,” she said. In fact, doing it virtually can have several benefits. “When it comes to psychological evaluation, even the smallest distraction can throw it away. Being able to do this in a comfortable space like your child’s home or classroom is better than going to the psychologist’s office and being dropped from class and told you are different.”

Example of a developmental assessment report in parallel learning.

Example of a developmental assessment report in parallel learning.

The business model is simple and not unlike how agencies and psychologists already work, but with the added bonus of streamlining paperwork and scheduling through technology. And, of course, the benefit is that you don’t have to drive anywhere to get or provide a service.

The $20 million A round follows the $2.8 million seed in December 2021. This new round was led by Tiger Global with participation from Obvious Ventures, Jaws Ventures and Vine Ventures.

With this money Parallel can scale. It’s easier as a technology platform, but still requires scouting new psychologists, communicating with new school districts, and continuing to work and support the product itself.

Heldfond said, “We’re currently working on five states and hope to launch in twelve more states by the end of this year.” “We have taken a very slow and thoughtful approach to scaling because we realize how personal and important these services are.”

From 0 to 12 states and $23 million in 6 months may not be the “slow and thoughtful” idea everyone thinks, but Parallel doesn’t want to run into hurdles like face-to-face testing, and is another service that parents should do. It seems you don’t want to be. wait.

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