Communication, Language and Speech Services

Who are we?

Parents of students with special needs in conversation with a Speech-Language PathologistWe are Speech-Language Pathologists and Special Program Assistants – Communication, Language and Speech Services who provide service in school-based teams. The Speech-Language Pathologists are highly trained in communication development and disorders at the Master’s level. They must be registered with the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario to practice in Ontario. The Special Program Assistants have been trained by our department to provide direct services to students under the clinical supervision of the Speech-Language Pathologist who assesses the students, develops the programs and evaluates their progress.

Who are the students we work with?

Speech-Language Pathologists help school staff develop the best learning environment to support children with a variety of communication needs. Since our services are school-based, we focus on supporting the communication skills of students so that they are able to participate in all aspects of their education. Communication skills include listening, speaking, reading, writing and non-verbal communication. While we have an emphasis on primary students and early intervention, we serve students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 with needs in the following areas:

  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  • Language Delay/Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Deaf or Hard of Hearing
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Language Based Learning Disabilities
  • Selective Mutism
  • Speech (moderate to severe articulation/phonology only)
  • Stuttering
  • Voice Disorders

How can a student receive our services?

Our services are accessed through the Consultant Support Team (CST) at the student’s school. The classroom teacher brings concerns to the In-School Team (IST) where the decision is made to refer to the CST. The informed consent of parents/guardians must be obtained by the Speech-Language Pathologist before service is provided to referred students.

The Kindergarten Communication Skills Evaluation is available to senior kindergarten students who are selected by their teacher. Following parental consent, names are provided directly to the school’s Speech–Language Pathologist. Possible outcomes of the Evaluation include classroom suggestions, additional assessment, referrals to other services and direct language intervention for those students who qualify.

What services do we provide?

We offer a number of levels of service:

  • Teacher Consultation: the Speech-Language Pathologist meets with a teacher or group of teachers to discuss how to differentiate instruction for individuals or groups of students with similar communication-based learning needs (not student-specific - no referral required).
  • Student Consultation: consists of problem solving with the school team, the resource teacher, and/or the classroom teacher regarding the needs of a specific student. A referral and parent consent is required. This may include observation and/or assessment of skills.
  • Assessment: may consist of classroom observation, assessment of informal curriculum-based tasks, and/or formal assessment using standardized testing. A report including assessment results, recommendations and follow-up is provided.
  • Direct service: Literacy Based Language Intervention is available for kindergarten to grade 2 students who qualify. The students work with the Special Program Assistant under the direction of the Speech-Language Pathologist. The Speech-Language Pathologist will complete an assessment, develop program goals, and meet regularly with the Special Program Assistant to evaluate progress. Intervention focuses some or all of the following goals:
    • Understand story structure
    • Build vocabulary knowledge
    • Make predictions, connections, and develop reasoning skills
    • Summarize orally and write ideas with support
    • Develop pragmatic language skills (social language skills)
    • Increase print awareness and phonological awareness
    • Comprehend and formulate a variety of sentence structures
  • Participation on Multidisciplinary Teams: Speech-Language Pathologists participate on the Consultant Support Team (CST), the Complex Autism Diagnostic Assessment Team (CADAT) and Specialized Support (SST) teams.
  • In-service: Speech-Language Pathologists are available to provide school-based and board-wide presentations on a wide variety of topics such as Augmentative Communication, Use of Visual Supports, Oral Language- Literacy Connections, Phonological Awareness and Phonics, Auditory Processing Disorders, Oral Language in the Classroom, etc.

Referral services

Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) offers speech therapy services at school for students with moderate to severe articulation, voice, fluency (stuttering), and feeding and swallowing difficulties. Our school-based UGDSB Speech-Language Pathologist must assess the students to determine if they meet the criteria for CCAC services in the community. This could include referrals to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist or an Audiologist.

What can we do for you?

Ask your school’s Speech-Language Pathologist about how we can help with communication- based learning issues such as:

  • Enhancing the oral language curriculum for your class
  • The impact of a student’s language difficulties on literacy acquisition
  • Developing a literacy program for a student using augmentative communication
  • Developing communication and literacy goals for students on the autism spectrum
  • Helping to determine if a student is ELL or Language Impaired
  • Providing program recommendations for a student with selective mutism
  • Selecting and implementing a communication system for a non-verbal or unintelligible student
  • Selecting language goals for the IEP of a student who is hard of hearing
  • Supporting a transition for a student with special needs