Are your programs in person or virtual? Where are you located?
Although our office is based just north of Toronto, we are pleased to offer our programs and services through virtual care (telepractice). Because of our unique focus on friendship skills for kids and teens with strong language and thinking skills, we are sought out by families across Ontario. We’ve worked with clients from North Bay to Toronto, from Windsor to Ottawa and many places in between! Offering our services virtually means that we can accommodate all interested families in all of our programs, rather than those families local to our office. Parents and teens participate online in the evenings, through our secure online platform. Families with younger children are seen virtually for adult group learning in the evening and individual parent and child coaching sessions after school or on weekends.
Are any of your programs available in the publicly funded system?
Yes, some children may be able to access TalkAbility™ through provincially preschool speech and language programs. Teens with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder may be able to participate in the PEERS® Program through regional Autism services or their school system at no cost and we strongly encourage you to explore these options. At Connections SLP, we welcome all children and teens with social learning and friendship needs. Our services do not require any documented diagnoses.
Another agency seems to offer the same service as you but the cost is quite different. Why is this?
Our services are offered only by highly experienced speech-language pathologists registered to practice in Ontario. Our staff are all Master’s-level trained clinicians and our rates are based upon current recommended fees for speech-language pathologists in Ontario. When comparing what appears to be the same program through different services, families should ask about the experience and credentials of the provider, how many total hours of service are involved and whether the service is for children/teens only or if there is also a parent learning component. All of our programs include interactive weekly parent/caregiver sessions so that kids/teens can be well supported in taking their skills outside of the group.
I really want a group for my child, not for me. Do you offer this?
At Connections SLP, we focus on working with both children/teens and their parents or other invested adults to build skills that transfer beyond our courses, and therefore we do not offer groups solely for children and teens without an adult coach to assist with this. After more than 20 years of working with children and youth with social learning challenges, we strongly believe that for the skills learned in a group to be used outside of the group, parents or other supportive adults must be directly involved in learning the strategies being taught. By helping parents learn how and when to coach, children and teens can continue to succeed long after the course is complete. You will leave each week of your program with a specific plan to coach your child or teen as you apply the skills and concepts introduced in that week’s session to their activities, interests and routines. Each week builds on the next, and participants leave our programs with a set of tools that allows them to continue to achieve their social goals beyond the duration of their work with us. If you are looking for a group for your child or teen only, we would be happy to provide resources for you.
Can I use Ontario Autism Program funding or extended health benefits for your programs?
Yes, you can. All of our programs are delivered by speech-language pathologists registered to practice in Ontario, and are therefore eligible under the OAP funding and extended health benefits covering speech-language pathology services. We are happy to answer any questions about funding that you may have.
Will you assess my child? And do you offer articulation or language therapy?
We provide a very focused service, built on our passion for and expertise in working with groups of children and teens and their families, and therefore we do not offer general communication assessments or therapy. We are happy to review previous assessments or therapy summaries prior to beginning our programs, and will work with your family to build on these as we determine your child or teen’s current strengths and needs in order to set goals and provide personalized strategies during our programs. Each of our programs begins with a 60 minute individual online consultation appointment during which we meet with you and your child/teen to understand your child or teen’s specific profile of strengths, interest and needs and goals are developed jointly with your family based on this initial session.