BH.01.JUN0519.C12 - Preschool Speech and Language Program - Program/Service Information Report

To: Board of Health
Meeting Date: June 5, 2019
Report No.: BH.01.JUN0519.C12
Prepared By: Rosalyn LaRochelle Manager, Child Health Services
Approved By: Andrea Roberts Director, Healthy Living
Submitted By: Dr. Nicola J. Mercer, MD, MBA, MPH, FRCPC Medical Officer of Health & CEO
Preschool Speech and Language Program, April 1 – December 31, 2019

Key Points

  • Preschool Speech and Language (PSL) Wee Talk Program ensures that all children who require supports enter school with the communication skills needed for personal, social and academic success
  • PSL Wee Talk Program is a partnership between Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH), St Joseph’s Health Centre and Groves Memorial Hospital/North Wellington Health Care
  • All relevant Accountability Indicators for this program have been achieved (met or exceeded target)

Program Requirements

Compliance with OPHS and Accountability Indicators:

✓ In compliance

Table: Ministry of Children and Youth Services Provincial Accountability Indicators

Deliverables April 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018


Explanation of Variance greater than 10%

45% of initial assessments provided to children under 30 months


Met target

50% of children will access their initial assessment within 3 months from date of referral


Met target

70% of children will receive their first intervention within 8 months from their date of referral


Met target

75% of children (aged 0-30 months) will receive Parent Training, Parent Training Former Definition, Hanen Program, Group Treatment (SLP or Mediator) or Home Programming at some point during total period of Service Delivery


Met target

75% of all children over 18 months will have completed FOCUS tool during their first intervention


This indicator is not relevant. In 2017, the Ministry phased out the FOCUS-50 question tool and implemented the FOCUS-34 question tool. This indicator has not been reconfigured in the Ministry database (ISCIS) to pick up the use of the new FOCUS-34 tool. This was expected to be corrected by MCYS in 2018, however this has not yet occurred.

75% of all children over 18 months who will have outcome measures complete at a minimum of every 6 months (completed at the beginning/end of intervention periods or at scheduled reassessments)


This indicator measures the former FOCUS-50 tool. If a child in the system had been previously started on the FOCUS-50, it is expected that they continue to be assessed using the FOCUS-50 tool. Any new children in the system since 2017 have been assessed using the new FOCUS-34 tool. This indicator is only measuring the remnant of children who started through the system on the FOCUS-50.


Wee Talk is the local preschool speech and language system for Guelph, Wellington and Dufferin. Wee Talk provides one intake for all PSL services in accordance with the Ministry mandate for PSL and ensures equitable service for all preschoolers across the PSL system.

Wee Talk is a partnership between WDGPH, St Joseph’s Health Centre and Groves Memorial Hospital/North Wellington Health Care, with WDGPH being the Lead Agency. WDGPH speech language pathologists (SLP) assess referred children to determine if they are meeting their developmental milestones or if further monitoring or referral for direct therapy is required. A Parent Orientation is required as part of this program, and once complete, a child requiring direct therapy is referred onto either St Joseph’s Health Centre or Groves Memorial Hospital/North Wellington Health Care. The goal of Wee Talk is to ensure that every preschool child who may benefit is screened and assessed for speech, language and communication difficulties and those who require speech therapy services receive appropriate supports through early intervention.

There are a total of 1,709 children currently on service in the Wee Talk Program. Four hundred and forty-four new client assessments were completed for this time period with approximately 53% requiring direct therapy service.

Changes to Wee Talk:

In response to program evaluation, a new online format for Parent Orientation was launched in early May 2019. This provides an alternative to face-to-face sessions. Face-to-face Parent Orientation sessions will continue to occur at reduced frequency for parents who prefer this method of orientation.

In an effort to increase access to information required by direct therapy services providers, and to streamline administrative processes, Data Sharing Agreements are being developed between WDGPH, St. Joseph’s Health Centre and Groves Memorial Hospital/ North Wellington Health Care. Training regarding this initiative is planned for early fall of 2019, with implementation immediately following.

Related Reports

BH.01.APR0418.C06 – Preschool Speech and Language (Wee Talk) - Program/Service Information Report.