The Government of Alberta provides Program Unit Funding (PUF) to support the educational needs of children with a severe developmental disability or delay including Childhood Apraxia of Speech.
The funding is used to support children’s participation and learning in early childhood programs.
Access to funding can be for up to 3 years, depending on need and when the child was approved. Children are re-assessed annually and the funding will cease at the end of kindergarten, regardless of how many years have been accessed.
- Chris W., Father of Child with Apraxia
Alberta Education uses a coding system to determine the severity of a child's condition. Depending of the severity of a child's Apraxia, they may fall into any one of these groups:
An child with a severe physical, medical, or neurological disability is one who:
A clinical diagnosis by a registered medical professional specializing in the field of these disorders is required. However, a clinical diagnosis alone is not necessarily sufficient to qualify under this category. In addition to a diagnosis by a qualified professional, school authorities are required to have extensive documentation, completed by school staff, indicating the quality, nature, frequency, and severity of the impact of the disability/disorder within the educational environment.
A severe language delay is assessed and diagnosed by a speech-language pathologist (SLP). The SLP uses a variety of formal and informal assessment instruments such as standardized tests, checklists, observational measures, and parental interviews resulting in an interpretive report that supports the diagnosis of a severe language delay. Eligibility for a severe language delay is based on a child’s overall speech/language development profile and assessment results, not on individual subtest scores. A child with a severe language delay is one who:
A child with a moderate language disorder:
If you are concerned about your child's development, talk to your doctor first. If you do not have a doctor, use the Find A Doctor website.
Upon seeing a doctor, you may be referred for further assessments. Often this assessment will come from AHS Speech and Language Services.
If your child's assessments show a severe delay, your will need to connect to an Early Childhood Support (ECS) service provider.
Once you have selected an ECS provider and provided them with the necessary assessments and diagnosis reports, they will apply for PUF on your behalf.
There are different delivery models of using PUF to support your child with CAS, below is an reference of some of them. You can see the websites for each of them to see more information, and we recommend contacting them to find out if they are a fit for you and your family. Every agency is unique, and have different methods/philosophy for working with children.
There are dedicated schools and centres in Calgary that deliver a preschool environment to children approved for PUF or other government funded programming and support. The school days are generally considered "half-days" (either morning or afternoon) and most of these include bussing to and from your home as well as lunch and/or snacks. There is no cost to the family for this delivery if a child has been approved for PUF and this option is generally the most robust in terms of support provided. Contact the provider directly to get more information on availability and registration.
Many preschools in Calgary offer screening and access to PUF. In this delivery of PUF, a third-party PUF provided would work with your child 1:1 at the preschool of your choice generally once every 1-2 weeks. The cost of the preschool is not covered in this delivery method but the therapy received is. The following is a list of PUF providers that come into your Community Preschool for therapy session.
Similar to the community preschool model, Calgary's various school boards (public, private and charter) can provide support via PUF however this is generally the most scaled-back delivery. Contact your school board for more information on what this would look like in Kindergarten.