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 up to their 18th birthday. Services are provided at our Waterloo Site, and/or in the client’s home, school or community.
We are an Expanded Level Clinic with the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long –Term Care [Link to: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/]. 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.
Through a team-based approach, families are supported through the knowledge and expertise of speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, communicative disorder assistants, 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
• New Referrals need to be made by a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP). The SLP can contact KidsAbility at 519 886-8886 x1214 or 1-888-372-2259 x1214.
• A Face to Face application form [link to document: ACS Face-to-Face Referral] needs to be completed by the referring therapist and family. The family will be asked to identify a facilitator.
• After the form is received, the referral is reviewed by the ACS team for eligibility. The referring clinician and family are notified of the outcome including dates of information sessions.
• Families are required to review the Roles and Responsibilities in ACS [link to document: Roles & Responsibilities in ACS] and to attend an Information Session prior to acceptance onto the ACS waitlist.
Re-Referrals – Face-to-Face Communication
• If a child has been previously assessed and discharged by ACS, their parents may re-refer up to one year after the child’s discharge, up to that child’s 18th birthday. A Face-to-Face Re-Referral Application form needs to be completed by the parent/legal guardian, or the parent/legal guardian can contact KidsAbility directly at 519-886-8886 Ext. 1215 or 1-888-372-2259, Ext. 1215. An SLP referral is not required.
Augmentative Communication Services Face-to-Face Brochure [link to document ACS_FacetoFace_Brochure]
New Referrals - Written Communication
• New Referrals need to be made by an Occupational Therapist (OT). Refer to Guidelines for Referring OTs for more information. The OT can contact KidsAbility at 519-886-8886 x1214 or 1-888-372-2259 x1214.
• A Written Communication application form [Link to: <file://M:\Common\Website\2. Programs & Services\1 A to Z Listing\ACS Application-Writing Aids Referral-2013.pdf> ] needs to be completed by the referring clinician and the family. Home writing goals must be identified.
• The referral is reviewed by the ACS team for eligibility. The referring clinician and family will be notified of the outcome.
• Families are required to review the Roles and Responsibilities. [Link to: Please click the link(s) to open:
• file://M:\Common\Website\2. Programs & Services\1 A to Z Listing\Roles and Responsibilities in ACS-WA.pdf]
Re-Referrals – Written Communication
• If a child has been previously assessed and discharged by ACS, their parents may re-refer up to one year after the child’s discharge, up to that child’s 18th birthday. A Written Communication Application Form [Link to: file://M:\Common\Website\2. Programs & Services\1 A to Z Listing\ACS Application-Writing Aids Referral-2013.pdf] 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, or the parent/legal guardian living in Waterloo Region and Guelph Wellington can contact the Program Assistant directly at 519-886-8886, Ext. 1215 or 1-888-372-2259, Ext. 1215. An OT referral is not required.
Book a Consultation
Office hours provide 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 or waiting for service. An ACS SLP and OT will be available from 9am to 11am on the fourth Tuesday of every month at KidsAbility. To book an appointment call 886-8886 or 1-888-372-2259 ext. 1215. Discussions can occur by telephone or at the Waterloo Site.
Who can access Office Hours?
KidsAbility and community SLP’s and OT’s (includes school board, private, CCAC therapists) within Waterloo Region and Wellington County. It is not required that the client’s name be provided.
Why use Office Hours?
To discuss how to talk to families about making a referral to ACS· To share strategies to address specific face-to-face or written communication issues (e.g., “Where do I start?” “What do I do next?” “Am I on the right track?”)
Adult Services – 18 +
For adult ACS Clinics, you may contact ADP [link to: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/adp/default.aspx] for a list of current adult clinics in your area.