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Specialized Communication Resources for Children

The Specialized Communication Resources for Children Program (SCRC) is in the Speech and Hearing Junction on the first floor of SSCY Centre.  We are funded by donations to the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation and their Starkids Golf Tournament.  We provide services that promote the natural process of communication development.  We work closely with the families of functionally non-speaking children.  Learn more about our programs below.

We offer a variety of workshops and education sessions to parents, caregivers, therapists, teachers, and educational assistants.  View our workshop descriptions to learn more about the sessions, and fill out a registration form to register.

We are also home to Manitoba’s largest public lending library of adapted books and take-away language learning kits.  We have more than 700 children’s picture books available to anyone to borrow.  Picture communication symbols have been added to the text to help with learning and comprehension.  Learn more about the SCRC Library in the Loan Programs section of our website.

Alternative and Augmentative Communication

Overview of program:

The Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) Program helps families of children whose speaking abilities are impaired, preventing the natural development of verbal and non-verbal communication. First, our team will assess your child’s current communication and cognitive abilities. Then, we will work with you to make a communication home program that is just right for your child and family. You will be given helpful communication materials. They may include picture symbols and/or speech generating devices. We will work with Occupational Therapists to get switches, mounting hardware and other environmental control technology when children cannot point to or touch the materials or devices, to give them access to the pictured language materials. Together we will make a ‘just right’ communication solution for your child.

Our priority is to build parents’ skill in communicating and interacting with their child. We teach parents the principles of guided participation and aided language stimulation. Your consultant will work with you to make a home program schedule that is right for you. It ranges from occasional consultation to an intensive parent guiding program (see the Relate Program below). Families who live in rural areas will be followed through Telehealth.

Upon request, school and daycare teams can be included in the AAC program. We can provide communication materials to support the student’s participation in their academic program. We can also help the educational team identify communication targets and teaching strategies that are right for the student.

The AAC Program is also home to Manitoba’s largest public lending library of adapted books and take-away language learning kits. The SCRC Library is open to everybody in the SSCY Centre catchment area. More information about the SCRC Library can be found in the Loan Programs section of this website.

The AAC Program also provides education sessions for parents, educational support teams and related professionals.

What to expect during your visit:

AAC Program

For your first visit, your child should come with their most familiar communication partner. It is important to bring your child’s communication system (such as their speech generating technology or samples of their paper based picture communication systems), and video samples of your child communicating at their best.

Initial intake assessments are intensive, and may last between 60 and 120 minutes. Your child and their primary communication partner will be observed and video recorded while doing preselected activities. After a short break, the evaluator will interact more directly with you and your child. You are encouraged to bring a snack for the break. Recommendations and support materials will be provided at your next visit. Families traveling from a distance may come back later the same day or the next day to learn about the initial recommendations and to pick up some initial customized communication materials. You may contact Dom at (204) 258-6500 with questions about your initial intake appointment.

SCRC Library

All users need to make an appointment for every visit. First time users should expect to stay about one hour, so they can be oriented to the library’s organizational system and offerings, and sign up for a borrowing card. If you would like to borrow language learning kits, please provide your child’s language profile, and make sure our Speech Language Pathologist will be there to help you during your visit. To maximize your time, provide a profile of your user and their interests and information about their upcoming academic content a few weeks before your visit, so that our staff can preselect and prepare items for you.

SCRC Library books and materials are best suited for students whose language learning needs or interests fall in the pre academic range. Books and materials are checked out at the front reception desk. Books and materials can be borrowed for a month or longer. The SCRC Library is co-managed by our Speech Language Pathologist and Assistive Technology Assistant. Please contact Marjorie at (204) 258–5695 with any questions.

Educational Sessions

Educational sessions for therapeutic and educational professionals and paraprofessionals and parents are available on a variety of topics for a small fee. Most are also available through Telehealth. Most of our workshops are full day sessions, from 9:00 – 3:30, with an hour lunch break. We encourage participants to bring their own lunch and eat onsite. Onsite paid parking is available most days. Educational Sessions may be led by any one of our SCRC team members. Please see our calendar and the workshop schedule for details. Agencies can also host educational sessions for large groups. For more information, contact Dom at dgagne@rccinc.ca.

Meet your team:

Our Speech-Language Pathologist does communication assessments, designs home programs, designs language learning and communication materials, and provides ongoing coaching for the families in the AAC Program.

Our Assistive Technology Assistant prepares communication materials, programs speech generating devices, and makes sure that support staff are trained to program their student’s devices.

Our Assistive Technology Specialist is available by appointment for technical issues, such as adapting or repairing communication devices or switches, or for customizing technology.

Our Occupational Therapist is available to help with device access and mounting and related seating issues.

How to access the program:

The AAC Program is for functionally non-speaking children. Referrals are accepted from all community sources, including parents, doctors, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists and resource teachers. You will be contacted by your preferred contact method for your first intake appointment. All follow up appointments will be coordinated by your therapist. Wait times vary.

The SCRC Library is good for the support teams and caregivers of all students whose language learning needs or interests fall in the preschool range. It is recommended that library users make an appointment to visit the library. For appointments please contact aac@rccinc.ca or Marjorie at (204) 258-6595.

The educational sessions are for classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, resource teachers, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and parents/primary. You may register for workshops by phone, email or regular mail to Dom at dgagne@rccinc.ca or (204) 258-6500. You can be placed on a waiting list for a next available workshop if the schedule is not yet posted.

Find and contact us:

The AAC program is available Tuesday – Friday. Initial appointments occur at SSCY Centre. Follow up consultations may occur in the community, home, SSCY Centre or via Telehealth, and may last as long as 1.5 hours. For information about the AAC program, please contact Stephannie at stephanniem@rccinc.ca or (204) 258-6596.

The SCRC Library is located in SSCY Centre and is available by appointment, Tuesday – Thursday, 8:00 – 4:30. For information about the SCRC Library and AAC material preparation, including Boardmaker workshops, please contact Marjorie at aac@rccinc.ca or (204) 258-6595.

Educational Sessions are scheduled throughout the year on weekdays and are held at SSCY Centre. Many can be attended via Telehealth. For general workshop information and registration, please contact Dom at dgagne@rccinc.ca or (204) 258-6500. Please let Dom know if you wish to attend via Telehealth.

Relate Program

Overview of program:

The Relate Program in the Specialized Communication Resources for Children Program at the Rehabilitation Centre for Children is a parent training program for families whose child has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Intellectual Disability. The purpose of the program is to give parents and guardians the skills they need to help their child’s social development. Parents and guardians will learn about what it takes to become a guide to their own child. A guiding approach can help to improve the child’s social skills, communication, and their ability to think flexibly and solve problems. The program is developmentally focused and based on Relationship Development Intervention®.

What to expect during your visit:

  1. The Parent Learning Series
    The Relate Program starts with a group learning series. Individual meetings with program clinicians are scheduled at regular checkpoints to help you apply what you are learning. You will learn how children develop social skills, communication and flexible thinking. You will also learn that small changes in your own communication style can have a big impact on your child’s learning. In each session, there will be discussion, practice and homework to help you use the ideas in your daily life at home.
    Commitment:
    You are required to attend on a weekly basis for nine weeks. There are five group learning classes scheduled in the evenings, and four individual sessions with one of our clinicians. You will be expected to complete homework assignments that may involve written reflections and video recordings of your activities with your child.
  2. Customizing a Home Program
    When parents and guardians have completed the Parent Learning Series, some may feel that they are ready for more intense work with their child at home. In this second phase of the Relate Program, we make a customized home program which starts with an in-depth assessment of your child’s unique learning style and their current social strengths. With the clinician’s help, you will make a plan that works with obstacles, best teaching strategies, and the first goal for your child’s social development.
    Commitment:
    Parents and guardians will be asked to bring their child for a 1.5 hour assessment and to commit to a second (and maybe third) individualized parent only session. Going forward, you will be expected to set aside plenty of time and prepare opportunities for your child to achieve their learning goal. You will also be encouraged to stop and assess your efforts from time to time.
  3. Follow Up
    Families who have a Relate Home Program will be scheduled for a one year follow up appointment. We will re-assess your child’s changing learning style and the best teaching strategies, as well as update your child’s social learning goal.

Meet your team:

You will work with one of our two RDI Program Certified Consultants: Stephannie (Speech Language Pathologist) or Lianne (Occupational Therapist).

How to access the program:

You can register by contacting Dom at (204) 258-6500 or dgagne@rccinc.ca. There is no cost to parents and guardians, but registration is required.

Parents and guardians in rural areas are able to attend through a Telehealth link at their local health centre. Please let us know if you need a Telehealth link when you register.

Find and contact us:

The Relate Program takes place at SSCY Centre.

For more information about the Relate Program, please contact Lianne at (204) 258-6597 or lianneb@rccinc.ca or Stephannie at (204) 255-6596 or stephanniem@rccinc.ca. For information about workshops, please contact Dom at (204) 258-6500 or dgagne@rccinc.ca.

Extra information:

To learn more about the RDI Program:
www.rdiconnect.com

To connect with other parents interested in developmental programs for children with ASD, the following link is for ADAPT (Association for Developmental Autism Programs and Therapies):
https://www.facebook.com/groups/floortimerdi/