Augmentative Communication Services (ACS)

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Augmentative Communication Services (ACS)

 

Augmentative Communication Services help children and youth who have difficulty communicating verbally, to find their voice using technology and various assistive devices. ACS provides assessment and consultation services for children and youth until adult transition living in Waterloo Region or Guelph-Wellington. For adult ACS Clinics, contact ADP for a list of current adult clinics in your area.


We are an Expanded Level Clinic with the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) of the 
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. This means we are able to prescribe a wide range of technology to support face to face communication and written communication that can be purchased or leased. Services are provided at our main Waterloo Site, and as appropriate, in the client’s home, school or community.


Through a team-based approach, families are supported through the knowledge and expertise of speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, communicative disorder assistants, rehabilitation technologist and/or a special education liaison teacher.


Services are provided for clients who have one or both of the following alternate and/or augmentative communication needs:

  •  Face-to-Face Communication: Individuals who are non-verbal or who are verbal but are very difficult to understand and require some alternative or augmentative means of communicating.
  •  Writing Aids: Individuals who have a physical disability that affects their written communication skills, have home writing needs, and are able to independently generate text. This is also for children under 6 years of age who are demonstrating the potential to develop literacy but due to their physical disability require some alternative means to paper and pencil for writing.

 

 

New Referrals – Face-to-Face Communication 

  1. New Referrals need to be made by a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) with the family. The referring SLP obtains parental/legal guardian consent for the referral and requests that they view the Video: Getting Started With Alternative and Augmentative Communication as the first step.
  2. The parent/legal guardian and referring SLP complete a Face to Face Application Form together. 
  3. The parent/legal guardian follows the instructions provided in the Video: Getting Started With Alternative and Augmentative Communication.

 

After the form is received:

  1. The referral is reviewed by the ACS team for eligibility. The referring clinician and family are notified of the outcome.
  2. Families are required to review the Roles and Responsibilities in ACS Face to Face Communication and reminded to view the Video: Getting Started With Alternative and Augmentative Communication.


 

Re-Referrals – Face-to-Face Communication

If a child has been previously assessed and discharged by ACS, their parents are to wait at least one year before their child is eligible for services again. At that point, parents may re-refer any time up to adult transition. A Face-to-Face Application Form needs to be completed by the parent/legal guardian, or the parent/legal guardian.

 

Augmentative Communication Services Face-to-Face Brochure provides further information. 

 

New Referrals - Written Communication

New Referrals need to be made by an Occupational Therapist (OT) with the family. Refer to Guidelines for Referring OT's  for more information.

  1. Contact KidsAbility at 519-886-8886 x 1214 or 1-888-372-2259 x 1214 to complete KidsAbility Intake.
  2. Apply for ACS by completing a Written Communication Application Form


Home writing goals must be identified.


After the form is received:

  1. The referral is reviewed by the ACS team for eligibility.
  2. The referring clinician and family will be notified of the outcome.
  3. Families are required to review the Roles and Responsibilities in ACS Written Communication 

 

  

Re-Referrals – Written Communication

If a child has been previously assessed and discharged by ACS, their parents are to wait at least one year before their child is eligible for services again. At that point, parents may re-refer any time up to adult transition. A Written Communication Application Form needs to be completed by the parent/legal guardian with home writing goals identified, and the reason for re-referral clearly identified, i.e., equipment no longer operational or meeting client needs. An OT referral is not required.

 

Augmentative Communication Services Written Communication Brochure provides further information.

 

Book a Consultation

Office hours provide KidsAbility and community Speech and Language Pathologists (SLP) and Occupational Therapists (OT) the opportunity to talk to ACS staff regarding clients who may or may not be eligible for service (no names provided) or are waiting for service. An ACS SLP and OT will be available from 9am to 11am on the fourth Tuesday of every month at KidsAbility. Topics may include how to talk to families about making a referral to ACS, sharing strategies that may answer, “Where do I start?”, “What do I do next?”, or “Am I on the right track?”  To book an appointment call the Program Assistant at 519 886-8886 or 1-888-372-2259 x 1373. Discussions can occur by telephone or at the Waterloo Site.



Attend ACS Workshops

Free workshops are available to any family, caregiver, school staff and other who work with and support individuals with alternate or augmentative communication needs. Steps include:

 

  1. Reviewing the Augmentative Communication Workshop Descriptions here.
  2. Determining the Workshop Schedule
  3. Registering in advance by calling the Program Assistant at 519-886-8886 or 1-888-372-2259 x 1373 or by e-mailing ACSInfo@kidsability.ca and indicating the session(s), date(s) and time(s) you would like to attend. You do not need to attend all sessions on a day.

 

 

Funding 

Review funding options available.