Speech/Language Services for School Aged Children with Childhood Apraxia Of Speech

 

PUF Funding is for children between 2 and half and 6 years of age by September 1. After they turn six years old, they are no longer eligible for PUF support. This presents a challenge for many parents as their children may still need intensive level of therapy. Children will be entering the school system at this point. Speech Services are accessed directly through the school system. Parents should discuss concerns with teachers who will then arrange for speech services to be organized via the school. Regional Collaborative Service and Delivery (RCSD) is the organization that co-ordinates the system of allocating the SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) to the school and therefore the child that is in need. Most  children with confirmed Childhood Apraxia of Speech generally still require the services of a private Speech-Language Pathologist to address Motor Speech issues, as studies have shown repeated and intensive speech therapy to be most effective in achieving the goals in these children, and every child is different in their needs and responses to treatment.

Alberta’s Education System is an Inclusive System which means that children will be in a class with the rest of the community children and teachers are obliged to do their best to support children with ongoing issues such as Childhood Apraxia of Speech.  It is important for parents to advocate for their children, as this ensures ongoing supports within the classroom such as Speech-Language supports and Occupational Therapy Supports. Parents should discuss the issues that concern their child with regards to Childhood Apraxia of Speech, and its associated problems such as gross motor planning, learning and other concerns.  In addition, teachers have to be aware that children with Idiopathic Childhood Apraxia of Speech will seem to be, in most respects, like their peers from the community, and even speech issues may have mostly resolved with previous therapy. However, learning, literacy, spelling and writing difficulties may present themselves and will need individual attention in order for the child to achieve academic success. Refer them to the Apraxia-kids.org/Back to School Resources for more information. It is an important step, as supports, though limited, are available. A child may still need ongoing Private Speech therapy during this time.

Teachers play an important role in promoting healthy relationship building between students, allowing for opportunities to develop friendships, to intervene in the case of bullying, (which can be a significant problem), to support the social and emotional well being in the school setting, and facilitate academic success by ensuring that learning is indeed taking place.   Additionally, children with Developmental Co-ordination Disorder as a diagnosis can also have a sense of isolation as they avoid playing on the playground equipment with friends due to fears of inadequacy due to gross motor issues. All of these factors eventually affect a child’s self esteem and personal confidence, and thus their development.  This can lead to stress and anxiety, with massive implications in the short and long term.

With regards to speech and articulation, if a child has been discharged from speech therapy, but there seem to be ongoing concerns, a consultation can be sought at the University of Alberta’s iStar initiative called the “Communication Improvement Program” to help improve clarity and other issues related to Speech. This is not publicly funded.

 

RCSD Ensures that the partners (Alberta Health Services -includes Allied Health ie Speech and Language/Occupational Therapy, etc), Human Services, Alberta Education work together to optimize support for children and families and staff in the delivery of supports and services. This initiative begins with a conversation between the parent and their child’s teacher and school Principal regarding the needs of the child. The school then collaborates with RCSD to bring these supports into the school system for a particular child’s needs. It is therefore important to have these conversations with your child’s teacher.

This handbook provides information, activities and strategies for parents to be meaningfully involved in their child’s                    education, and ways to meet their learning needs.

 

 

If there are ongoing concerns, a further assessment can be done at the Glenrose:  School Aged Neurodevelopmental Assessment Clinic (SNAC) A referral is needed, along with a Complete Psycho-educational Assessment, School Questionnaires, and other info as specified.

A Psycho-educational Assessment is a specialized assessment done by a Psychologist which assesses areas of academic skill such as reading, expressive writing, mathematics, including an assessment of Intelligence Quotient (IQ) to give useful information about whether there is a specific learning disability or not. Information can be quite helpful to the teacher and parent alike. Psycho-educational Assessments are done by Registered Psychologists and can be done Privately or via the School system. The wait time if done through the school system can be quite long. Check with the School to have this arranged. Alternatively, you can it have it done privately through a Private Practitioner, though it is quite expensive, and not all private insurance plans pay for it. Here is the link to the Psychologists Association of Alberta : Referral Search Form