Each of my mentally disabled grandchildren struggled with learning speech. Thankfully there is help and an initial trip to my family doctor regarding their difficulties pointed me in the direction of a program called Early Words which offers a Preschool language and Speech Program, an Infant Hearing Program, and The Blind – Low Vision Early Intervention Program. I learned I could directly refer the child for an assessment so I called Early Words and an initial home interview with a speech language pathologist was arranged and the child’s development discussed. From there the first step was a hearing test to determine if the child’s low speech development was caused by an inability to hear properly. When it was determined that hearing was not a problem I was advised to place the child in a therapeutic daycare setting to help them learn from other children. While in the daycare, the child was observed by a speech language pathologist from Early Words and as a result a program was implemented in the daycare to help the child with vocabulary.
My youngest grandson was also enrolled in a one-to-one six-week program with a speech therapist as his needs were greater than his siblings. The daycare environment helped my grandchildren not only with their speech, but also encouraged them to interact more positively with less aggression toward peers, and to learn to take instruction from authority. However, due to my financial limitations, I did have to apply for daycare subsidy, and discovered finding a daycare opening for each child an enormous hurdle. It took a lot of determination, much patience, a little aggression, and numerous phone calls to various daycare centers before locating a suitable opening. It was during my eldest grandchild’s placement in daycare that I was encouraged to register for free parent/child workshops offered by Hamilton Health Sciences at various clinics throughout Hamilton, Ontario which offer strategies to parents of children with disabilities, delays, and aggressive behaviors.
Early Words is a preschool speech and language service and works with children up to six years of age. They have a very informative website at earlywords.ca or phone (905) 381-2828. If you are interested in the parent/child workshops offered by Hamilton Health Sciences, browse the workshop guide at communityed.ca.