During the past year, the Speech-Language Pathologists have provided services to a record number of children from our region; 442. Currently providing services are Bridgette da Silva, Jenny McNab, Megan Kjorven and Joan Beek. We continue to have a long waitlist due to staff shortages and the increasing size of the caseload and the complexity of the caseload. We have assisted this past year with therapy groups, parent education workshops and virtual services to maximize our reach.
Learning to Eat and drink
We receive many referrals each year for children who have challenges with learning how to eat and drink. Some of these challenges may be present since birth and some may start later. There are several videos that we have found useful for families to watch to give them strategies to work on while they are on the waitlist. These do not replace an assessment. If a child is experiencing significant eating challenges such as weight loss, ongoing frequent coughing/gagging/choking incidents, or history of eating and breathing coordination problems these require an urgent referral to a doctor/paediatrician and the CDC speech therapy department. See the red flags for feeding: Microsoft Word – Red Flags-w logo (sosapproachtofeeding.com)
Videos on feeding skills:
- SOS Approach to Feeding is a well known feeding program with 30 years of clinical experience helping children learn the skills they need to eat well. They have developed a 2-hour Parent Webinar: https://sosapproachtofeeding.com/parent-workshops/
- Autism Community Training (ACT BC) has recorded a series of short videos on a parent workshop that they held in person a while back. This presentation begins with a discussion of selective eating and the factors that can affect a child’s eating. The presenters then discuss how food preferences develop and the importance of children tasting a wide range of foods. Step by step strategies for expanding a child’s diet are included. Though this was created for the autism community the tips may work for any child : (One Bite at a time) Improving Family Mealtimes | ACT – Autism Community Training (actcommunity.ca)
When receiving services from the Child Development Centre, you will meet a variety of staff with differing training and credentials. Each one plays a role that is specific to their training. We have been fortunate in the past few years to hire several Rehabilitation assistants (RA) or Speech-Language Pathology Assistants (SLPA). They have received either on the job training or formal education at an accredited program.
What do RA/SLPAs do?
Tasks vary from behind the scene jobs like cleaning toys, creating visual schedules to assisting with therapy groups or working on a specific skill with a child such as communication skills. Clinical and non-clinical tasks that are given to an RA/SLPA are delegated to them by either a licenced Speech-Language Pathologist(SLP), Occupational Therapist(OT) or Physiotherapist(PT). The primary therapist (OT/SLP/PT) completes an assessment, set goals, and creates a plan for the therapy session, group session or other task. They will discuss this plan with the parent/legal guardian and with their consent may ask an RA/SLPA to carry out individual/group therapy sessions. As needed, re-assessment by the primary therapist will determine new goals. RA/SLPAs have become an indispensable part of your child team to meet the needs of staff and families.
Meet Stacey and Colinda, our Rehabilitation Assistants who support all of the therapists and families.