Frequently Asked Questions

What are School Based Rehabilitation Services?

School Based Rehabilitation Services (SBRS) include occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language pathology provided to school-aged children in their publicly funded schools.

The goal of SBRS is to support student participation in school curriculum.

Speech Language Pathology (SLP) provides support for speech difficulties. This includes articulation/phonology and motor speech  disorder, dysfluency, as well as voice and resonance disorders.

Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physiotherapy (PT) consultation for safety, mobility, access and participation in school activities.

Who is eligible for SBRS?

Your child’s school can support you determining if your child is eligible for this service. The student must be registered and attending a  publicly funded school with KidsAbility SBRS catchment area.

If your child attends a private school, please inquire with Home and Community Care Support Services Home and Community Care  Support Services in Waterloo Wellington for School Health Support Services.

How do I refer my child for School Based Rehabilitation Services?

All new referrals for School Based Rehabilitation Services will be completed:

  • By the child’s home school through KidsAbility’s Intake team. Please talk to your child’s teacher or principal about referrals for School  Based Rehabilitation Services.
  • By a KidsAbility therapist if the student is already a KidsAbility client.

Families and legal guardians are not able to self-refer for SBRS at this time.

My child is already a KidsAbility client. What does this mean for me?

Your team at other programs in KidsAbility will remain unchanged and will continue to work closely with the SBRS therapists to maintain  coordinated care for your child.

What role do I play as parent/guardian?

Legal Guardians must provide consent for their child’s participation in SBRS and are encouraged to participate as much as possible  throughout the entire process in order to ensure the successful attainment of goals.

If you feel that your child may benefit from therapeutic services within their school, please consult with your child’s teacher to discuss eligibility criteria and a potential referral for services.

Where will my child's services be provided?

Your child will receive SBRS supports virtually and in their school, based on the current plan for your child.

When PT and OT needs are identified:

How does SBRS support my child/youth in their school?

  • After referral is received by the therapist, they will connect with school and family/guardian to discuss informed consent, review any  relevant information, and plan for assessment as indicated.
  • SBRS is a consultation service. This consultation model is a collaborative approach working closely with school staff and communication is provided via visit notes, reports, conversations with school and family/guardian.
  • Assessment for your child/youth occurs at their school.
  • Following assessment, therapists provide recommendations and further suggestions, review goals with school team and family/guardian and discuss informed consent for consultation to work on these goals if deemed eligible for the program.
  • Service goals are guided by the 6 F-words of Childhood Disability with a focus on accessing the school curriculum.

For more information regarding the 6 F’s visit The 6 F-words of Childhood Disability.

What does physiotherapy support look like in SBRS? 

Concentrated on gross motor areas of student’s development through their access to school curriculum

Goals may include:

  • Safe mobility at school
  • Safe inclusion for physical activity at school
  • Gross motor development as part of accessing school curriculum
  • Recommendations for equipment (i.e. walkers, standers, adapted trikes, etc.)

What does occupational therapy support look like in SBRS?

Concentrated on support for student’s needs with sensory processing and fine motor development and functional concerns identified at school.

Goals may include:

  • Safe inclusion and accessibility to school curriculum
  • Supporting self-care skills within school environment
  • Consultation to staff to assist with transfers in school environment
  • Recommendations for equipment (i.e. sensory, seating, etc.)

Occupational Therapy is transitioning to a model of service in which the OT will observe classrooms, gym and the playground to support  teachers in building capacity to provide universal (general) strategies beneficial for all children. Examples of these strategies may include  ideas to improve pencil grasp and cutting skills and using various lined paper to improve written work. The OT may also offer suggestions regarding proper positioning at the desk, focus in the classroom, and movement breaks.

For students who benefit from more focused or individualized support from the OT (e.g., working in a small group or one-on-one, or working

on activities at home), the school will contact you to provide more information and obtain your consent before making the referral.

When SLP needs are identified:

How does SBRS support a child/youth in their school?

  • SBRS SLP will consult with parents and teachers, and provide assessment, monitoring, home programming, individual, and group  intervention as required in school or virtually.
  • This collaborative approach is achieved by working closely with parents and school staff, and communication is provided via visit notes, reports, conversations with school, and the family/guardian.
  • Once the therapist has capacity on their caseload and receives the referral, they will connect with the school and family/guardian to discuss informed consent, review any relevant information, and plan for assessment as indicated.
  • Assessment for a child/youth occurs virtually or at their school as appropriate.
  • Following assessment, therapists provide recommendations and further suggestions, review goals with the school team and  family/guardian, and discuss informed consent for consultation and intervention to work on these goals if deemed eligible for the program.
  • Service goals are guided by the 6 F-words of Childhood Disability with a focus on accessing the school curriculum. For more information regarding the 6F’s visit The 6 F-words of Childhood Disability.

What does SLP support look like in SBRS?

  • SBRS SLPs provide assessment and treatment for speech sound production difficulties, motor speech difficulties (starting and sequencing movements for speech), fluency (stuttering), voice and resonance (airflow) disorders, that affect a student’s access to school curriculum. SBRS SLPs also provide support for school-based feeding and swallowing difficulties.
  • Please note, that expressive language (words, sentences), receptive language (understanding), literacy (reading & writing), and social communication (e.g. taking turns, getting along with peers, following social rules, etc.) are not assessed or treated by SBRS SLPs.
  • Goals may include:
    • Improved speech clarity to communicate in the classroom
    • Better sound pronunciation
    • Improved fluency and learning of self-advocacy skills for fluency
    • Use of vocal hygiene recommendations
    • Improved use of vocal qualities
    • Consultation with parents and teachers to facilitate transfer of skills to everyday environments

What happens when a child/youth has completed SBRS services?

If a child/youth is no longer eligible for service, or no ongoing/active goals are present, then they will be discharged from SBRS at that time. Re-referral is possible based on intake eligibility and ongoing need for service. Please speak with your child’s teacher, special education teacher, or school principal for further support.

Are there any additional services that my family can access?

Families are the most important member of their child’s therapy team. Through training and guidance, families are equipped with the skills and support that they need to be successful. The following services and resources are available to support you and your family!

Training & Support:

You can request a meeting with our Resource Centre team who can help you to find information on a specific topic, search for community programs and provide Board Maker training to design visual supports.

Equipment & Games:

Search our online catalogue or visit us in-person at any of our Resource Centres in Cambridge, Guelph, Kitchener, or Waterloo to borrow equipment, toys, DVDs, resources and more!

In The Meantime:

KidsAbility’s therapists have built a series of information sheets for parents and caregivers to help you understand the many ways that you can help your child to work on learning new skills at home such as:

  • Sensory Challenges
  • Developing Positive Behaviours
  • Developing Hand Skills to Prepare Them for School

Community Programs:

There are many programs, activities, workshops and more for children, youth and families in our community that can be viewed on  KidsAbility’s Event Calendar.

Peer to Peer Support:

The Waterloo Region Family Network (WRFN) can assist you in connecting with other parents that may have a child with a similar  diagnosis.