*The RCSD partnerships across the province are being eliminated by the provincial government as of September 1, 2020.  As a result, the information on this page will no longer be valid.  The website is being maintained for one year to allow partners to continue to access the resources*

Individualized Services

A. What are Individualized Services?

In brief, individualized supports and services refer to those provided specifically to support ONE child rather than a group (targeted services) or teacher-led universal strategies.  As a team the teacher, family and SLP share responsibility to support a child.  A referral must be made by the school, and informed consent must be provided by parents to access direct individualized supports and services.

** Where schools have rehabilitation staff on their core teams, a referral is made following discussion with the School Core Team.

A referral does not mean a “hand-off” of responsibility; supporting a child is a shared responsibility and requires a team approach.

  • Parents/caregivers are always partners in the individualized service; in addition to being the best option as a practice partner, they provide information about the child, are intimately involved in goal setting, and are aware of the strategies that others are using and, where possible, assist with transference of skills to home and community.
  • The classroom teacher is always a programming partner with individualized services even if there is a practice partner. Both the teacher and the SLP share responsibility to support a child; the SLP/SLPA should not be working in isolation from the classroom
    • If the teacher is aware of the goals and strategies, he/she can intentionally embed strategies throughout the day (i.e. literacy Centre’s, snack time, exist/entry pass, calendar).

Note: Service is not just minutes of SLP time with a child but, more importantly, embedding the skill in the classroom, home, and community. The more people, in varied environments, who know what the goals are for the child, the more likely there will be skill transference.

Individualized services are much broader than the traditional 1-to-1, knee-to-knee, approach and may include:

  • student specific consultation/modelling for parent/teacher (with or without students present)
    • capacity building/strategies/specific skill development with a gradual release of responsibility from SLP to parent/teacher
  • classroom observation
    • observation for lagging skills/informal assessment, checking for transference of skills. Teacher understands and supports the purpose of the observation.
  • formal assessment
    • for funding purposes or related health services such as physician request
    • for referral to a special clinic
    • as deemed necessary to support programming for the child
  • informal assessment and probing
  • stimulability (articulation needs)
    • Child works with SLP/SLPA to correctly make the sounds
  • partnership with teacher and, when appropriate, EA to support an individual child by providing recommendations for classroom strategies
  • practice partnership
    • SLP/SLPA works with the student and a practice partner who continues the practice between SLP/SLPA visits
    • typically used to address moderate to severe articulation needs

B. Suggestions for Facilitating a “Team Approach” at School

  • SLP/SLPAs are welcomed as “team members” in the school
    • i.e. poster in the school/staff room, letter for parents/staff
  • Establish a culture of shared responsibility. Specialty teacher annually communicates to classroom teachers that there is a shared responsibility for both teacher and SLP to support children.  This is “how we do business”.
  • SLP/SLPA and classroom teachers work together more successfully by establishing relationships perhaps facilitated by the specialty teacher.
  • SLP/SLPA is encouraged to begin with a teacher who is open to collaboration.
  • Examples of how time can be created for SLP/SLPA classroom teacher conversations
    • 5 minute strategies
      • Brief check in or strategy sharing while class works independently
      • Program updates/short and quick strategies (SLP/SLPA suggestions for continued reinforcement)
    • 30 minute strategies
      • Neighboring teacher or grade partner takes both classes for a short activity
      • Specialty teacher or other staff member covers
      • Teacher prep. time/lunch/recess- perhaps walk the playground together
      • While supervising students during an activity they can do relatively independently (such as reading, video, movement break at the playground)

C. Referral for Individualized Supports and Services (School Core Team)

** If there is not a School Core Team, please see website for referral process

  • Teacher discusses concerns with specialty teacher and together they determine if it is appropriate to review with the School Core Team (if there is one). The SLP Severity Rating Scale should be consulted to help inform a decision to refer for individualized service.
  • School Core Team reviews the concerns and determines the most appropriate service option (universal, targeted, and individualized).
  • The School Core Team also reviews the priorities for service already established to identify when the SLP can schedule an additional child into the service package for the school. (NOTE:  There is a finite amount of time that an SLP is assigned to an individual school; new referrals need to fit within that time allotment.)
  • Specialty or classroom teachers have conversations with parents to gain agreement to proceed with a referral. Parents need to be made aware that they share in the responsibility to support their child and that one of the service options could include a practice partnership with family involvement.
  • Referral form is completed by the school and sent to Coordinated Intake.
  • If the individualized service requested is a practice partnership, it is necessary for the School Core Team to identify the best practice partner.
  • The referral leads to the implementation of the team approach (see section “A” above) where parents, classroom teacher and SLP/SLPA share in the responsibility to support the child.

D. Finding a Practice Partner

The first and best option in a practice partnership is that a parent or a family member who spends regular, consistent time with the child is the practice partner.  The practice partner commits to supporting the treatment process and to providing practice between coaching sessions.  Research has shown that frequency of practice in multiple environments (including home and community) contributes to improved progress.

  • Practice partnerships need to be flexible and family centered. The SLP takes the lead in guiding discussions that include flexible options that work for the family and team members:
    • time of day (after/before school, lunch)
    • frequency (weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, etc.)
    • number of sessions to start with (i.e. 1-3 sessions and see how things are going)
    • treatment block- work 6 weeks with one child/family and then take a break to work with someone else
    • location- school, health center, other
    • combination of both family and school practice partners
  • If, after all flexible options have been explored, parent is unable to be the practice partner, then all other possible types of partners need to be explored. The School Core team may be consulted to help find an alternate partner.  A specific partner needs to be approved by the parent/guardian and needs to follow the volunteer protocol of the school authority.
    • Care giver
    • Extended family
    • High school work experience student
    • Older student
    • Neighbor
    • Volunteer
    • School personnel
    • Other?
  • If a practice partner cannot be found, the team moves to the “plan when unable to find a practice partner”. (section F below)

E. Assessing the Practice Partnership

Once a partner has been identified and therapy/coaching sessions begin, it is necessary to consider the effectiveness of the practice partnership.


  • If a practice partner does not attend a scheduled therapy/coaching session, therapist may wait 5-10 minutes and attempt to contact the practice partner to re-schedule. This can serve as a check in to find out how practice is going and provide an update.
  • If a second scheduled session is missed, SLP/SLPA contact with the partner is imperative.  The therapist would initiate a conversation to explore topics such readiness and importance with the partner.  If the partner re-commits, another session is booked.  If not, the SLP makes the partner aware of the impact of not having a practice partner.
  • An attempt to identify an alternative partner (See A above) may occur AND if no alternative partner can be found, move to “plan when unable to find a practice partner” (section F below)

Partnership Effectiveness

  • Even if a partner attends regularly, the effectiveness of the partnership needs to be reviewed because sometimes a:
  • child doesn’t work well for the parent at the coaching session or at home,
  • parent is not able to make practice sessions a priority, and/or
  • parent is unable to provide effective practice due to personal circumstances.
  • Following a few sessions (2-4), therapist reflects on child’s progress (i.e. effectiveness of partner). If there is a concern, discussion needs to occur with practice partner at a scheduled session or separate contact.
    • The therapist explores with the partner what worked well, what did not and together they decide upon possible modifications to the partnership looking at other possible practice alternatives to what the parent has been doing. Consideration can be given to timing/location/frequency/methods to motivate the child/partner.  Depending upon parent response in the discussion about what is working and adjustments to be made, a decision needs to be made about the effectiveness of continuing.
      • a plan for continued involvement with the practice partner is developed OR
      • attempt to identify an alternative partner (See B above) AND
      • if no alternative partner can be found, move to the “plan when unable to find a practice partner” (section F below)

F. Plan When Unable to Find a Practice Partner

  • SLP reviews with the school team and documents the flexible options offered to the family.
  • time of day (after/before school, lunch)
  • frequency (doesn’t have to be once per week)
  • number of sessions to start with (i.e. 1-3 sessions and see how things are going)
  • treatment block – work 6 weeks with one child/family and then take a break to work with someone else
  • location of service – school, health center, other
  • combination of practice partnership with family and school
  • School core team reviews and documents attempts to find an alternative partner. School team may offer additional suggestions.  The point is to establish that the alternatives have been fully explored and ruled out.
    • Caregiver
    • Extended family
    • High school work experience student
    • Older student
    • Neighbor
    • Volunteer
    • School personnel
    • Other?
  • If the above does not result in identification of an effective partner, the “team approach” (from section B above) with a teacher partnership increases in importance. Teacher and SLP discuss ways that teacher can support the goals in the classroom (recognizing that the teacher may not be a 1-1 practice partner).  Considerations include:
    • SLP/SLPA works with child on stimulability (out of class)
    • SLP/SLPA works in the class with the child (or in a group)
      • auditory bombardment
      • corrective cueing while child is reading
    • SLP/SLPA models strategies for teacher while teacher observes
      • e. model corrective cueing with child & teacher observes
      • e. model auditory bombardment with child and teacher observes
    • Consider if the child can be included in an existing targeted group?
    • Consider where support can be provided to the child within the existing school day?
      • Literacy Centre’s
      • Entry/exit passes
      • Calendar time
      • Snack time
      • Other?
  • Note: Even when the team approach is implemented without a practice partner, it is important to continue to search for a practice partner.
  • If the teacher/SLP/SLPA partnership is not operating effectively, the teacher or SLP/SLPA may request a meeting with specialty teacher to brainstorm barriers and opportunities for partnering.
  • If no solutions can be found at the school level, the situation (with supporting documentation) may be discussed with management (i.e. school jurisdiction leader and CRS Team Lead/Manager) in order to look for opportunities to:
    • find an effective partner
    • establish an effective team approach (teacher programming partnership)

*This website is a record of a constantly evolving partnership. It is as accurate as possible at any given time and will be regularly updated to reflect changing processes and information.  However, be advised that there may possibly be a lag updating the website with the most current information and processes.

*The RCSD partnerships across the province are being eliminated by the provincial government as of September 1, 2020.  As a result, the information on this page will no longer be valid.  The website is being maintained for one year to allow partners to continue to access the resources*