(Yellowknife, March 3, 2022) – Due reduced staffing capacity caused by vacancies, in-school Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) services will remain suspended through the rest of the 2022 school year. Continuing with this service change will allow for continuity of travel clinics in smaller NWT communities, and for a focus on providing services to children who will soon age out of eligibility for speech language therapy.
This temporary shift out of the schools will allow staff to focus on the hands-on work for those who need it most and expand opportunity for those youths on the waitlist to access the service more rapidly.
In-school services are focused on in-class assessment and strategies for school staff, whereas in-clinic appointments are dedicated to actively working on the skills for speech-language needs. SLP service delivery outside of health facility settings will be primarily allocated to:
- Community clinics to ensure delivery of care as close to home as possible for residents, with focus on 0-5 age group as well as seniors and children with complex needs.
- Continued active service for children 0-5 years of age, prioritizing children who are approaching “aging out” of this age bracket to ensure they receive intervention before entering the academic years at school. Children who are 4-5 years old and at school will continue to receive direct service outside of the schools.
- Where required, in-school visits will be arranged on case-by-case basis to ensure the continuity of care, so that children who are only able to access services at school may continue to do so.
- Consultations with family and school support persons for children with complex needs, in settings most relevant to the child.
- Community schools currently receiving SLP services through virtual care formats will continue to receive these services into the spring where possible.
SLP services are focused on evaluating, diagnosing and treating communication, speech, language, and swallowing conditions. Residents can self-refer to SLP or any rehabilitation services by filling out the self-referral form, available here. At this time, no other rehabilitation services are impacted by this extension.