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Language Express

March 26, 2024

Changes at the Language Express Preschool Speech and Language Program

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) released new guidelines for Preschool Speech and Language programs and School-Based Rehabilitation Services (SBRS) in August 2023. The guidelines state that PSL services must end at school start and that there should be a smooth and seamless transition to school board and SBRS services. The guidelines also emphasize “Tier 1” services and inclusive and culturally responsive services.

The following changes to Language Express services will come into effect over the next several months:

  • September 1, 2024 will be the last date to refer children starting JK (born in 2020).
  • Current clients born in 2019 or 2020 will be discharged in spring/summer 2024 and referred to school board and/or SBRS services as appropriate. Language Express Speech-Language Pathologists will be available to consult to school-based providers in September/October in order to ensure a smooth transition.

Language Express is working hard to ensure that children born in 2019 or 2020 who are still on a waiting list receive an assessment before September, but assessments will still be provided after September 1 to anyone already on the waiting list.

It makes sense for children attending Kindergarten to receive their speech and language services at school, and it makes sense for Language Express to focus on early intervention. Language Express services focus on building parents’ knowledge and skills. Early identification of speech, language, and hearing concerns is more important than ever right now, as we see increasing evidence that the pandemic has put many young children at higher risk for problems with communication development.

Tier 1 services are services that are available to the general public and to families on the Language Express waiting list. They include information about speech and language development and tips and strategies that parents and caregivers can use to help their children develop communication skills. Explore some new resources on the website at www.language-express.ca.

Take the time to check that the babies, toddlers, and preschoolers in your life are on track for communication success by completing the Language Express Communication Checkup on our website. The Communication Checkup screens for speech, language, and global development every 6 months from birth to 4 years of age. Parents can make a referral to Language Express online after completing the Checkup, or can call the office to make a referral or ask questions at 1-888-503-8885.

Language Express provides speech and language assessment and therapy services for young children in Lanark, Leeds, and Grenville counties from birth until school start. Services are free of charge.

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