Know if you qualify
To receive specialized services through the Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) program:
- your child must have a severe disability that significantly limits their ability to function in normal daily living activities
- you need to provide your child continual and ongoing assistance and supervision to make sure they are safe and able to participate in daily living activities
- your child has critical service needs in 2 or more areas including behaviour, communication and social skills, physical abilities, cognitive abilities, or self-help skills and adaptive functioning, and
- there are no other programs or services to meet your child’s needs
What you get
Specialized services include many different ways of working with children with severe disabilities and assisting their families. This type of support is coordinated, individualized and flexible to meet your child and family’s:
- unique strengths and needs
- time and priorities
- culture and values
Specialized services team
When your child receives specialized services, a team of health professionals work directly with them. This specialized services team works with you to determine the best ways to help your child learn skills and participate in everyday routines. Your child’s team may include:
- a physical therapist
- a speech-language pathologist
- an occupational therapist
- a psychologist
- a behavioural specialist
- an aide
These professionals provide specialized services based on established practices and approaches that are:
- least intrusive, and
- demonstrated to be effective through ongoing scientific research
As a parent or guardian, you decide how much you are involved with your child’s specialized services. Your decision can change over time. While you are not expected to become a therapist to your child, you may choose to:
- be in the room or participate when the team is working with your child
- continue to practice skills with your child between meetings with your team
You are encouraged to:
- determine which specialized service providers you want to work with
- ask them about the approach they will use, what specialized services will look like and how this type of support will fit your priorities and goals
- consider how their approach fits for your child and family
- ask them about other approaches you have heard about
Individualized Service Plan
The specialized services team works with you to develop an Individualized Service Plan (ISP) to meet your child’s needs and support your family. Every team member contributes to the ISP to ensure services are provided in a consistent, coordinated way.
The ISP can change over time to reflect your child and family’s changing needs. It does not need to include goals for parents, guardians or the family, but these may be included if you like.
The Individualized Service Plan describes:
- priorities you have identified
- goals or purpose for providing specialized services
- strategies the team will follow
- steps necessary to achieve the goals
- ways to track progress towards achieving the goals
How to make a request
Step 1: Talk to your FSCD worker
- Discuss whether your family may qualify for new or ongoing specialized services.
- If you are not receiving any FSCD supports, follow the steps to apply for the program. When you have your first meeting with an FSCD worker, ask about specialized services.
Step 2: Gather documentation
If you are requesting specialized services for the first time, you need to provide:
- letters or reports about your child’s diagnosis
- letters or reports from doctors or other health professionals involved with your child’s ongoing care such as feeding clinic results, hearing and vision test results, medication trials, etc.
- clinical assessments or progress reports such as speech and language or physical therapy assessments
If you currently receive specialized services and would like this type of support to continue, you need to provide:
- an updated ISP for the current year and the ISP from the previous year, if applicable
- the proposed ISP for the services being requested
- assessment or progress summaries from the health professionals on your specialized services team
Step 3: Submit the documentation
- Make copies of all the documentation you have gathered for your specialized services request.
- Bring, mail or email the documents to your FSCD worker.
After you make a request
Your FSCD worker may consult with a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) about the documentation you submitted. The team is a group of health professionals established by the FSCD program. They provide support in understanding the request for specialized services and make recommendations about:
- specialized services that are based on best practices and ongoing research
- the type and level of specialized services that may be most helpful in meeting your child’s needs and family’s goals
Their recommendations support your FSCD worker in making decisions about the specialized services your child and family receive.
The MDT may include:
- speech-language pathologists
- occupational therapists
- physical therapists
MDT members will meet with you, your FSCD worker and service providers. They do not:
- meet with your child
- complete clinical assessments
- make final decisions about the FSCD services that your child and family receives
You may ask to meet with the MDT if you have questions about:
- your ISP
- how specialized services will address goals for your child or family
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