Universal speech-language pathology services to support language development in pre-school children attending educational child care.

Created on January 27, 2017 by ONtranslator2.

This is a translation of this original submission

I want Ontario to spend an undetermined amount to fund a pilot about sustained support to early childhood educators in order to increase access to child care.

Speech-language pathologists in childcare centres

This idea was selected for voting but was not one of the top 3 projects.

This idea received 1,120 votes.

What is your project idea? 

The Government of Ontario has published a number of documents on the importance of the first six years of a child’s life. The Ontario Early Years Policy Framework (2013) identified the following priority areas:
• continue with the implementation of full-day kindergarten and junior kindergarten by September 2014;
• create an effective approach to implementing Best Start Child and Family Centres by September 2014;
• improve the delivery of speech and language services(*);
• stabilize and transform the child care sector(*).

The pilot project proposes to link the last two priorities (*) with the Integrated Rehabilitation Services Delivery Guidelines for the Special Needs Strategy initiative.

The Greater Sudbury region has some 70 educational child care centres, attended by 5,736 children (including 2,047 francophone children) (September 2016 data, City of Greater Sudbury Children’s Services).
The pilot project would fund the hiring of four speech-language pathologists (registered with the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario), each of whom would be assigned to four educational child care centres (a total of 16 French-language and English-language educational child care centres) in the Greater Sudbury region.

Using a tiered approach and working with the existing agencies that deliver speech and language services to preschool children, the pilot project would enable the speech-language pathologists to provide child care staff with consistent support (through more frequent training and consulting – Tier 1 Universal Services). This would lead to identifying children with typical language development, those at risk for delay, and those who are having specific difficulties, in order to address their needs effectively.

Specific language enrichment training programs, with evaluations both before and after, would not only equip educators to maintain more positive relationships with children, but also provide them with more consistent support and access to evidence-based professional training in language development.
Finally, these speech and language pathologists would provide an essential link to clinical services provided locally by specialized speech and language pathologists (Tier 2 Targeted Services and Tier 3 Individualized Services). The requested funding would be used to pay salaries, purchase supplies, rent workspaces, set up a research program to analyze the results in association with a post-secondary institution, and possibly to create a related research centre as well.

How will this idea provide a solution? 

The expected outcomes would be aligned with several of the Government of Ontario’s initiatives:
1) Use of existing agencies: preschool speech-language pathology programs (such as the Children's Treatment Centre of Greater Sudbury and Wordplay Jeux de mots Preschool Speech and Language Service);
2) Better interactions between educators and preschool children in terms of supporting the children’s language development.
3) Improving the delivery of speech and language services. Both the children and the educators in the child care centres would benefit directly;
4) Liaison with clinical speech and language services (Tiers 2 and 3 of the Response To Intervention program);
5) Collaboration with a post-secondary institution: research centre and partnership with the master's program in speech-language pathology and possibly other related partnerships, data analysis, etc.;
6) Support for children in educational child care centres from families where only one parent speaks English or French;
7) Possible partnership with Best Start Hubs to support staff, parents and families (with ongoing financial support) (another priority identified in the 2013 Ontario Early Years Policy Framework);
8) Cost-benefit analysis showing high economic and social productivity (Make Early Childhood Education a High Priority, 2012.

Is there anything else we should consider? 

I am in the final phase of doctoral studies (thesis, publication and discussion of results). Preliminary results show little generalization and maintenance, with the existing support in terms of strategies to promote quality interactions and appropriate models of language. Several factors appear to contribute to these results: turnover of educators, job satisfaction, staff shortages, basic training, etc.

"Measuring Interactions and Linguistic Exchanges Between Educators and Children in Educational Child Care Services" (L. Génier-Bédard, 2017, Laurentian University).

Several community partners are willing to provide letters of support for this pilot project.

Project ID: 2692

Speech-language pathologists in childcare centres

This idea was selected for voting but was not one of the top 3 projects.

This idea received 1,120 votes.