Sara Buckingham is a registered Speech-Language Pathologist with over 15 years of experience, including with AHS, various preschools, the public school system, and privately. She has a private practice based out of Chestermere and provides both in-home and virtual visits. You can contact her at: email@example.com, or through her Facebook page.
In the past year, there have been significant changes to the Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) services offered by Alberta Health Services (AHS), and not necessarily due to the pandemic. If you have a child who needs a SLP it can be difficult to figure out how to access SLP services, hopefully, this article can provide some help.
There are dozens of reasons that families might want to consult with an SLP: perhaps you have a toddler and you want to know they are meeting their speech milestones, or your two-year-old is a bit of a late talker, maybe your language delayed preschooler requires a formal diagnosis to access government funding, or your school-aged child doesn’t quite have all their sounds yet and you’re unsure if this is normal. Regardless of the reason, one of the biggest barriers can be understanding HOW to access services.
AHS currently provides services for children under the age of 5. Services are government-funded and may include parent groups, consultations, and treatment appointments. Under current Covid restrictions services are only provided virtually. To access SLP services through AHS the contact phone number is 403-955-1300.
Many preschools have in-house or contracted SLPs. Usually, these SLPs provide services to children who have qualified for government funding. Speak to your current (or prospective) preschool and discuss what services they can provide. The school system (K-12) also has various government-funded SLP options available, but these have drastically changed in the past year. Available services vary widely by school district and by school, contact your child’s teacher to determine what may be available at their school.
Finally, there is the option of hiring a private SLP. Private SLPs are not government funded, however, most employer benefit plans will cover at least a few SLP sessions. You may want a single session to confirm your child is on track, or perhaps you know your child needs longer term support. Often, parents hire a private SLP for the short term while they’re on the waitlist to access AHS services. The method of service will vary - private SLPs might come to your home, provide online sessions, or provide in-person sessions at their office. Make sure you select an SLP that provides the type of service that you are comfortable with. To find a private SLP, you can visit www.asapp.ca, click on “Find an SLP” and search based on location and services offered.
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I will be providing ongoing articles for Macaroni Kid Chestermere on a variety of SLP topics, often based on frequent questions that I hear from parents. What questions do you have about the speech and language development of your child? If you want to know, likely other parents do too, and hopefully, I can provide some helpful information through Macaroni Kid. firstname.lastname@example.org
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