Speech-Language Pathology Services help children with communication problems. These include: the understanding and use of language, speech production (articulation), stuttering, voice and feeding/swallowing.
Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) are registered practitioners in the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario. At Grandview Children's Centre, Speech-Language Therapy Assistants support SLPs by carrying out set treatment plans.
What is the Durham Preschool Speech and Language Program (DPSLP)?
The Durham Preschool Speech and Language Program (DPSLP) is one of 31 preschool speech and language initiatives funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services in Ontario. The program was created to ensure that all preschool children are given the best chance of reaching their full speech, language and communication potential. The program provides services to children from birth until they are eligible to enter senior kindergarten.
Who is eligible for DPSLP?
Services are available for children up to the year they are eligible to enter senior kindergarten (spring/summer of the year they turn 5 years old).
I have concerns about my child's speech language development or hearing. What should I do?
If your child is under 5 years of age and you are concerned about his/her speech language development or hearing, please contact the Centre at 905-728-1673 or toll free 1-800-304-6180 and make a referral to the Durham Preschool Speech and Language Program. You can also request a hearing assessment for your child.
What services are offered by DPSLP?
Parent Orientation Session
Following your child’s referral to the program, you are encouraged to attend a 2-hour Parent Orientation Session. This important session runs monthly and provides parents and caregivers with information about:
- the services offered by the Durham Preschool Speech and Language Program
- communication difficulties experienced by preschool-age children
- helpful strategies you can use at home to encourage your child’s speech and language development
During the first appointment, the Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) will talk with you about your child’s development and how he/she talks and understands. Depending on your child’s age and ability, the SLP may also evaluate your child’s communication skills using standardized assessment tools and/or by observing and playing with your child. At the end of the appointment (or at a subsequent appointment, if required), the SLP will explain the results of the assessment and discuss with you specific goals to address communication difficulties demonstrated by your child. A type of intervention to target these goals will also be proposed (specific types of intervention are described below).
Re-assessments are an opportunity for the SLP to evaluate your child’s overall progress as well as his/her progress on the specific speech and language goals set at the previous assessment. Additional intervention may be recommended, if appropriate. Re-assessments typically occur every 3-6 months.
Following an assessment, the SLP will discuss with you an appropriate intervention to address the goals identified. This may involve:
1. Parent Education Workshops
Parent workshops provide an opportunity for you to learn how to help your child at home. The skills you learn will help to maximize your child’s communication development. Workshops are lead by a qualified SLP and involve a combination of lecture, videos, hands-on practice and home activities. They typically are offered in the evening for 2 to 4 weekly sessions. One-day workshops may also be offered on a Saturday. We currently offer the following workshops:
- Early Language Development
- Later Language Development
- Speech Production (articulation, pronunciation)
- Fluency (for children who stutter)
- More Than Words (a program developed by The Hanen Centre for parents/guardians and caregivers of children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder)
2. Home Programming
Following an assessment, the SLP may provide you with activities and strategies to target your child’s speech and language goals at home. One or two follow-up appointments may be offered to teach you to use these strategies and ensure that you feel comfortable with how you are to help your child practice at home. Throughout the home programming period, the SLP will be available (by telephone) to monitor your child’s progress and discuss any questions or concerns you may have.
3. Group and Individual Treatment
Following a re-assessment, your child may be invited to attend a therapy group to target his/her speech and language goals. Groups range in size from 2 to 8 children and are run by an SLP and/or by an SLTA (Speech-Language Therapy Assistant), under the supervision of an SLP. They usually run weekly for 5-8 weeks. Each session is approximately 45-60 minutes in length. Parents are invited to actively participate in the groups so that they can better implement the strategies and activities at home. Homework may be assigned following a therapy session. Daily home practice is essential for your child to achieve his/her speech and language goals.
Children are typically grouped accordingly to their area of communication need. Areas targeted may include:
- parent-toddler communication skills
- early language skills
- sentence length and the use of grammatical structures
- comprehension skills (ie., following directions)
- speech production skills
- early literacy skills
Following an assessment, the SLP may suggest having your child remain on the caseload so that his/her speech and language development may be monitored for a 4 to 6 month period. This may happen in cases where it is not clear that there is a problem or for children who have received treatment and have reached a plateau or normal levels of functioning. The SLP will provide you with information about the communication skills that are expected to develop over the next 4 to 6 months as well as suggestions to promote the development of these skills.