Starting as early as birth, children begin to develop communication skills that will help them succeed in school and later life. At least 1 in 10 children will require help to develop appropriate communication skills. Without this help, a child may struggle to talk and listen, learn to read and write, or engage in play and interactions with other children.
Grandview’s Preschool Speech and Language Program, and our Speech-Language Pathology team address difficulties in the following areas:
- Social Skills – interacting with others
- Talking – using language
- Listening – understanding language
- Articulation/Pronunciation – speech production
- Fluency – speaking fluently without stuttering
Preschool Speech and Language Program
Grandview Children’s Centre is the lead agency for preschool speech and language services in Durham Region. This program is one of 30 preschool speech and language initiatives funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. The program was created to ensure that all preschool children are given the best chance of reaching their full communication potential.
- Geographic Criteria: Children living in Durham Region.
- Age Criteria: Newborn to the spring of the year that the child is eligible to enter the second year of kindergarten (Senior Kindergarten). Referrals to the program must be made by August 31st in the year a child is eligible to enter the first year of kindergarten (Junior Kindergarten).
Diagnostic Criteria: Concerns with potential delays in expressive and/or receptive communication skills. Families are able to initiate a self-referral for speech and language services. No medical referral is required.
What does a speech and language assessment look like?
During the first assessment, the Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) will talk with you about your child’s development and how he/she communicates and understands.
How does the SLP complete an assessment?
The SLP will gather information about the various components of communication through:
- Parent/caregiver reporting
- Observation/interaction through play with your child
- Formal assessment tools (if appropriate)
What follows after the SLP assessment?
At the end of the appointment (or at a subsequent appointment, if required), the SLP will explain the results of the assessment and discuss specific goals to address your child’s communication difficulties. Treatment to target these goals will also be proposed (specific types of treatments are described below).
Following an assessment or reassessment, the SLP will discuss an appropriate treatment to address the goals identified. Speech and Language intervention may be provided individually or in a group setting. At Grandview, the following interventions may be provided:
- Parent Workshops – provide families with the opportunity to learn how to help children achieve the specific communication goals identified during the assessment. Workshops are led by an SLP or Speech-Language Therapy Assistant (SLTA), and involve a combination of discussions, videos, hands-on practice, and home activities.
- Parent-Child Groups – provide families with the opportunity to practice the strategies introduced during the workshop. Speech and Language clinicians will provide coaching and feedback so that families feel confident in using these strategies to help children practice new speech and language skills.
- Home Programming – offers activities and strategies provided by the SLP to target children’s speech and language goals during daily routines, play interactions, and book sharing interactions at home. Home programming appointments may be offered to ensure that families feel comfortable with the strategies being recommended to help children practice new speech and language skills.
- Group or Individual Treatment – provide families the opportunity to actively participate in small groups, or receive personal training to support the implementation of the strategies and activities at home. Homework may be assigned following a therapy session.
- Re-Assessments – provide an opportunity for the SLP to evaluate the child’s overall progress as well as his/her progress on the specific speech and language goals set at the previous assessment. Additional treatment (as outlined above) may be recommended. Re-assessments typically occur every 3-6 months.
Transition to School-Based Rehabilitation Services
As your child approaches his/her first year of kindergarten, the SLP will discuss the transition to school-based rehabilitation services. A final speech and language assessment will be completed in the fall or winter of your child’s first year of kindergarten and a final report summarizing your child’s progress and speech and language needs will be provided. With your written consent, a copy of the final speech and language report will be forwarded to the school board. The SLP will also be available to discuss your child’s needs with relevant school personnel.
Referral Process – How to Access Grandview Speech and Language Services and Supports
For all general inquiries, information on additional resources, or to speak with a team member about initiating a referral, families are able to call or email Service Navigation at Grandview Children’s Centre. Our team will be pleased to answer your questions and connect your child with the appropriate services to meet their needs.
Phone: 905-728-1673 x 2468
Toll-free: 1-800-304-6180 x 2468
Looking for additional ways to support your child’s communication development while waiting for an assessment? Please review the following resources for helpful tips and general strategies:
- York Region Preschool Speech and Language have partnered with other early years professionals to develop a number of helpful resources, including e-learning modules on a number of topics.
- On their website, York Region Preschool Speech and Language have also listed developmental milestones that show some of the skills that mark the progress of young children as they learn to communicate.
- The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has created a series of videos demonstrating some of the communication milestones children reach throughout their first 5 years of life. Videos include tips and strategies to help develop a child’s speech and language skills during each period
- Growing with Communication – a resource for parents with children under the age of 5.
- The Hanen Centre offers a number of resources including, articles and tips for parents. Try the “helpful info” tab on their website: www.hanen.org
- EarlyON Child and Family Centres have free drop-in and registered programs for families with children from birth to age six. You can find programs at sites across Durham Region.
- Carea Community Health Centre provides a variety of free community programs at five locations in Durham Region including several services and programs for children 0-6 years (e.g. “Ready for School Program”, “Getting Ready for Kindergarten” and “Rise and Shine Playtime”).
- If you are concerned that your child is stuttering, download an information package for parents. For further information on stuttering, please visit the following:
- Ontario Speech and Language Association to “Find a Practitioner”.
- Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services for more information about preschool Speech and Language Services in Ontario.