How Does it Work?Families initially meet with a Speech Language Therapist to determine which programs would meet the needs of their child or young adult. The annual base registration fee is $100. Below is the fee structure based on how often families access services. All families are welcome and we don’t want the fees to be a barrier and will turn no one away. We will make accommodations including waiving the fee. The following provides an overview of these programs. Each program also has an outreach component that allows the therapists or teachers to connect and support educators and healthcare professionals either at school or in a workshop setting. Members of the learners’ teams are also welcome to observe individual or group sessions. Our programs are constantly changing to meet the needs of our learners. The following is a snapshot of services offered by AIM.
Speech and Language SessionsEnhancing speech, language, and communication skills
Our certified Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) provide individual and/or small group programming to enhance the speech, language and communication skills for AIM learners, aged 0 - 22 years. Speech therapy sessions generally occur weekly, but other arrangements can be made based on family preference. Individual and/or small group sessions are offered, depending on the learners' needs. Sessions are designed to target the individual speech goals of the learner, while using fun and motivating materials and activities. Progress is continually monitored, and reports are provided on a regular basis.
Speech and language goals are individually determined on each learner's strengths and needs. Some general goals targeted include the following:
- Articulation: Improving speech sounds, blending sounds in words, increasing sound repertoire, etc.
- Expressive language: Requesting, initiating, responding, expanding utterance length, etc.
- Receptive language: Responding to requests, selecting objects, understanding concepts, following sequence, etc.
- Social communication: Greeting others, initiating conversation, responding to peers, identifying "expected" and "unexpected" behaviours, etc.
- Attending: Participation in activities, turn taking, etc.
Everyone A Reader Literacy ProgramHelping learners improve their literacy abilities, while providing the education needed for everyone to be a reader.
Early Literacy at AIM begins with individual speech and language sessions starting as young as babies and continuing to age 22. Some children ages 2.5 to school age will access the Bridge program.
The Speech Language Pathologist and the Bridge Program Team at AIM are a child's first organized exposure to enriched literacy programming opportunities to meet specific literacy goals. An assessment tool for emergent readers has been developed by the Down Syndrome Research Foundation in Burnaby, B.C. and has been adapted for this purpose.
The children are continuously assessed as they progress through the early literacy goals. The Bridge team and SLP's are constantly updating the assessment files and communicate regularly with caregivers and the Literacy team as to the child's progress along this continuum. Once the child meets most of the goals for an emergent reader, or is age 6, discussions will take place with the SLP, Literacy Teacher, and caregivers regarding accessing individual literacy sessions.
Everyone a Reader is a reading program that offers individualized reading instruction to learners at all levels of reading. Learners are assessed during the first few sessions of individual literacy instruction, using an assessment tool adapted from the Down Research Foundation in Burnaby, B.C. Goals for the literacy sessions are then established in collaboration with parents and will be communicated and assessed on an ongoing basis. Broad areas of goals include: student engagement, print awareness, expressive and receptive language, phonemic awareness, phonics, high meaning, high frequency words in context, reading and listening comprehension, and written language.
Individual literacy sessions are held once a week or once every two weeks for 30-45 minutes, depending on the learner’s age and ability. Every literacy session includes the following components: alphabetical code, phonemic awareness, high-meaning high frequency sight word acquisition, and reading or listening comprehension.
Older readers, who are at a fluent level of reading, may have the opportunity to move into a group setting to work on strengthening their independent reading and comprehension skills.
Occupation Therapy Consult Services
Occupational therapy (OT) consult services can be accessed through an internal referral by your speech language pathologist (SLP) or Literacy Teacher. An OT consult will consist of:
- Parent discussion to establish goals and areas of concern
- Child meeting to assess current level of function
- Written documentation of goals and recommendations to help support your child in further developing his/her skills
- Communication with other AIM team members, school team, and community therapy providers as appropriate
- Follow-up with family and child as needed
Intensive Co-Treatment ModelAges 6 -13
An intensive co-treatment model may be recommended to families and children to help overcome “roadblocks” that are interfering with progress in therapy sessions. These sessions will be run by the Senior Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), Occupational Therapist, and/or Literacy and Inclusion Specialist and will occur in a time-intensive structure of one session per week for a minimum of 6-8 weeks. Accessing this type of intervention can be initiated by caregivers or AIM team.
School Capacity and Team-Building
The AIM team is available to support children and youth in the school system. Some of the ways the team can be involved at school include:
- School visit to observe the child in the classroom
- Participate in school team meetings
- Connect regularly with teachers and educational assistants (EAs)
- Welcome school team members to observe individual/group sessions on-site at AIM
The Discovery GroupDiscovering your child's potential through music, movement and play.
The Discovery Group provides an enriched early-learning program for children between the ages of 0-4 years, diagnosed with Down syndrome. The goal of the program is to introduce parents and caregivers to techniques that will aid in their child’s development of speech, language, sensory processing, social skills, and motor skills. The Discovery Group is facilitated by a music therapist. A speech pathologist and occupational therapist are available for collaboration with program planning and consult meetings with parents to address questions or concerns about their child.
One of the goals of this group is to encourage parents to become partners in their child’s early learning development. Active involvement from family from family members is a critical component to the success of this program. Parents/caregivers stay with their child for the entire session. Other members of the learner’s learning teams (i.e. ECIP, other caregivers, etc.) are welcome to observe sessions.
Discovery Group is held once a month, with an additional (optional) hour of caregiver connection time. Registration is available on an on-going basis until program capacity is reached.
The Bridge ProgramHelping children improve their early-learning skills, while providing a bridge between specialized services and community programming.
The Bridge Program provides an enriched early-learning opportunity for children between the ages of 2.5 and school age, diagnosed with Down syndrome. This program is co-facilitated by speech pathologists, occupational therapist, and music therapist to target a wide-variety of critical skills for the early years. Specific areas of focus include speech, language, sensory processing, social communication, and self-help skills.
This program is offered two mornings a week, from 9:30am - 11:30am. The Bridge Program runs from September to June and follows the school schedule. Registration is available on an on-going basis until program capacity is reached.
Skill BuildersSkill Builders provides students with an opportunity to practice speech, language, and social goals in a motivating social environment (with their peers).
The Skill Builders Program is designed for AIM teens and young adults. This program focuses on the development of social skills and life skills to help build independence in daily life. Goal topics include initiation of conversation, conversation maintenance, listening and following direction in the classroom, making friends, social boundaries, etc.
Community Connections Developing employable skills
The Community Connections Program is designed for AIM adults. This program is an extension of the Skill Builders program, focusing on increasing capacity in these young learners by working on social skills and independent living skills and then applying them in different community settings.
Connection ClubIndependent Living Skills for teens and young adults.
Teenagers and young adults start wanting to do more for themselves as they get older – how can we support this desire for increased independence?
There are certain types of tasks we do many times a week called “instrumental activities of daily living” (IADLs) and these are the more complex activities required to live an independent life. Some IADLs include meal planning, grocery shopping, budgeting, taking public transit, and doing laundry.
The AIM program is offering the Community Connections Club with a focus on helping teens and young adults develop some of these independent living skills.
The Community Connections Club meet three times a month. Each month will include instruction on a new skill and a chance to practice this skill in the community.
Fine Motor Small GroupAges 7-12
The Fine Motor Small Group lead by our Occupational Therapist, meets biweekly for a 12-week block, alternating with small group speech sessions with our SLP. The focus of the fine motor group is to:
- Assess current handwriting
- Work on letter formation (upper and lowercase), sizing, and letter placement
- Develop fine motor skills including scissoring, hand strengthening, functional grasps, other and hand skills that support handwriting
- Connect with a peer(s) during group activities