WHO ARE WE AT BBSP?
A vibrant, dedicated, and highly-skilled team of committed professionals who believe every child deserves respect and a chance to learn. At BBSP we maintain a focus on the whole child within a family and a community. Having fun while learning is essential too. So, play, drama, art, movement and music are all incorporated into therapy. This results in innovative, creative uses of proven best practices.
What We Do
Our professional team offers flexible services to meet each client's needs.
CONSULTATION is offered to schools and other professionals. Presentations at professional conferences and interest groups are also available.
Building Blocks Speech Pathology is proud to be part of the training of new clinicians. We are an internship site for the graduate program in Speech Pathology at the University of Toronto and several Communication Disorders Assistant Programs.
INTERVENTION is a team effort with the child and family involved which shares in every aspect of development.
SUMMER CAMPS provide intensive speech pathology intervention while incorporating outings, music, drama, art, yoga and more.
INDIVIDUAL speech pathology sessions with direct parent involvement.
GROUP speech pathology sessions with direct parent involvement.
AUTISM ONTARIO PROGRAMS emphasize group social skills in fun learning activities with peers.
MUSIC BLOCKS is a popular group program combining speech pathology and music therapy to facilitate communication using the universal language of music and principles from both disciplines.
The discovery program is aimed at older children and adolescents as they discover the world around them. Exploring and learning ways of expressing themselves in their daily lives in a functional way is emphasized. Independence and functional skills in the community are key goals.
Dedicated and experienced speech pathologists with extensive skills use a wide range of techniques including sign language, picture communication systems, social skills training, PROMPT therapy and more, working with children with a wide range of diagnoses including autism, learning disability and apraxia of speech.
M.A., CCC-SLP, CASLPO
Communication Disorders Assistants
Dedicated professionals with backgrounds in psychology, early childhood education, and linguistics, they bring experience in related fields such as Applied Behavioural Analysis.
B.A. (Hons.), CDA
B.A. (Hons.), CDA
M.A., B.Sc. Clin. SLT
Occupational Therapist: Wendy Clifton
Kiniseotherapist: Diana Radtke
Art Specialist: Mike Beermann
Music Therapist: Rebecca Magill
Behaviour Therapist: Dorothy Booker
Music therapy is the therapeutic use of music to achieve non-musical goals. It is practised by trained and qualified music therapists through individual, dyad or group sessions.
Music therapists use the intrinsically engaging and motivating form of music to work towards the growth and development of its participants. As music can be easily adapted to suit individual needs, it is an ideal means of engaging clients in positive, success-oriented therapy. When used therapeutically, music can serve as an effective means of targeting a wide variety of skills within the social, emotional, behavioural, cognitive, communicative and physical domains.
Music Blocks is a dual-discipline therapy program offered through Building Blocks Speech Pathology in conjunction with Music Therapy Works. It is carefully designed to address the specific speech and language needs of each participant through the inherently safe, structured and positive form of music.
A Building Blocks Volunteer
When searching for volunteer experience opportunities I found Building Blocks to be the most welcoming and professional practise available. As a Building Blocks volunteer, I feel a distinct difference in my role at this practise than any other that I have been involved with. Engaging and influential tasks were set since my first day volunteering. I knew from that moment on, that I was going to enjoy myself at this establishment.
The significance of my daily tasks such as helping organize office materials, making reminder phone calls and providing support to the Speech Pathologists and Communication Disorder Assistants has given me a sense of belonging and rewarded me a sense of fulfillment. Being a part of the enrichment that goes on in the lives of adolescents who operate with language uniquely from others reinforces my passionate decision to pursue Speech Language Pathology.
Some characteristic features of Building Blocks include the meticulous arrangement of the speech space, the attention paid to small yet significant details that help individuals along in their own language journeys and the overall structure of consistent encouragement along with participation for the next step. These features are apparent in my role as a volunteer and I am able to help continue these with great pride. I am honoured to witness the success and improvement occurring from hard work and consistency from all aspects of this team endeavour.
If you are considering your own volunteer opportunities in the Hamilton area, I would highly recommend you consider Building Blocks Speech Pathology.
We offer various different workshops. Stay tuned for more information.
Students and Training
Here at BBSP there are opportunities for hands on learning, for people studying in the field of speech pathology. Feel free to contact us for more information.
On April.30th, I began my one month adventure to Kenya, Africa and on May.30th it sadly had to end. Everyone says that going to Africa is such a life changing experience. I would have to disagree with life changing, but I would definitely agree that it was most certainly an experience of a lifetime. Over the course of the month I stayed in two towns. For the first half I stayed in a rural farming community called Ugunja. For the second, I stayed in Ngong Hills, a much bigger city, only an hour matatu (van) ride from Nairobi. And of course, I ended the trip with an amazing safari to Masaii Mara. In Ugunja I was supposed to stay in a traditional mud hut on the Omandi Compound. However, heavy rains a week prior to our arrival deemed the mud hut unsafe to live in. Consequently, the Omandi family invited my team and me to live in their home for the duration of our stay. I would wake up to roosters crowing, dogs barking, and children crying nearly every morning. I would wake up covered in sweat, wipe myself down with a cloth, brush my teeth, change my clothes, and then go into the kitchen to see if the women of the house needed any help with the morning chores. As chores were being done, the children got themselves ready for school. Once the children were ready, they would walk up the dirt road to school. Sometimes I would walk with them and sometimes I would trail behind (I will admit that my team and I were a little late some days). On our walks to school and into the town, children would flock to our sides. Other children who weren't in school would run to the edge of their family's compound to get a look at the "How are Yous". Everywhere we went children would prance and chant, "How are you, how are you, how are you?" This was the only English some kids knew and the phrase also doubled as their term for white people. When we would try and communicate back in the local Swahili variety (Luo), the children would laugh and were quite amused by our attempts to speak Luo, especially when we would yell, "O-sa-wareh" (good afternoon) instead of "O-ya-wareh" (for good morning). The pre-school that I worked at ran from 8-12:30 and so my team and I had the rest of the day off to do tourist type things, however, we opted to do more volunteering in the community. The pre-school there had four main classrooms, with about 10-15 kids in each, and one, some day&339;s two teachers. Once I began working with the children, I found that many kids were not learning at the same pace as others. In one classroom, I found that some kids could count to 100, while others of the same age couldn't even count to 10. Some kids could easily read the English words we would learn every week and others couldn't recognize the geometric shape of the letter "N" as being an "N". Once I realized this, I personally began spending more one on one time with the children who were behind. The language barrier made it a little difficult, but somehow the kids always managed to figure out what I asked them to do. When spending one on one time with them, I would ask them to write for me their ABC's. If that was a problem, I had them trace the letters I already wrote out. Once they learned that an "N" looked like Nn, and that a "S" looked like a Ss, I would test them. I would say the letter and then they would have to draw me the letter on a piece of paper and then say the sound. I noticed that the children there get very little praise for doing a task well. One of my favorite moments was definitely seeing the smile on this little girl's face when she correctly drew for me all the letters that I had asked her to draw and sound out. I gave her a huge high five and a sticker. Seeing how her face lit up was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen! Following our mornings in the school, we would have lunch, nap, and then go visit the hospital and help out where we could around the town. For a couple days, we even helped lay the foundation for a school. For the second half of the month, in Ngong Hills, I volunteered with Living Positive Kenya. This is an organization run by a woman named Mary (Mum) for women and children with HIV⁄AIDS. There I stayed in a nice apartment building. This was a HUGE difference compared to living in Ugunja. There I actually slept on a bed and we had a shower AND a toilet. While volunteering at LPK, we worked mainly with the children at the daycare located in the slum. When we had some free time in the afternoon we would also participate in dance therapy for the mothers with AIDS. This was called Groove and it was definitely a lot of fun! During our stay here we also helped build a fence and we listened to the life stories of the women who had contracted HIV. At the day care in Ngong, I did similar one on one exercises as in Ugunja. However, I will admit that I liked the children from Ugunja much more. The children from the slums were more misbehaved and had poorer listening skills. Too make matters worse, violence amongst the children was so bad that sometimes children would fist fight to get a chance to hold your hand.
The children of Ugunja waving at us as we walked to school.
From this half of the trip, I would definitely say that I was most moved by some of the women’s life stories. Most of the women contract the virus from their husbands, whom have contracted it from previous wives who have passed on. Most of the women had a tough childhood and saw marriage as a solution to all their problems, not knowing that they are marrying a man with HIV⁄AIDS. Often times the man would beat the woman, leave her and her children, or die, leaving her with no way to support herself. Overall, I would say that I learned many things. I learned a lot about life, about myself, and about this whole other world on the other side of the Atlantic. I learned about the value and reward of patience and endurance. I too learned that we take for granted our washroom facilities, but lastly, I learned that it doesn't take a lot to be happy. Happiness for the people of Africa is not always about the things they own, the places they go, the higher education they have, it is about loving who you are, who you are surrounded by, and having just enough to get by. People over there all seem to be so happy and positive, despite everything that they go through. Africans truly make it seem like they have no worries, though they likely have the most reason to worry of all people. This whole experience has definitely put the phrase Hakuna Matata into perspective, and I hope to return again someday.
Josephine and I after school one day.
By: Joleen Schmidt
I am Jason Sher. I was diagnosed with Autism when I was only three years old and since then, I have had to live with my disability. My parents fought very hard to help me get through school. They met Bev, and I had to have speech therapy when I was young.
I went to Sheridan College in Brampton. In December of 2009, I graduated with a diploma in Information Technology Support Services. After that, I spent a lot of time each day looking for jobs that I was qualified for to apply to, until I had an interview with Bev and got this job as a Computer Support Clerk.
In May 2010, I started working here at BBSP. I engage in working in the database, computer troubleshooting, and other maintenance and tasks needed.
I really love the environment to which I work in. All the people on the team at BBSP are now very familiar and there is always someone that I can talk to. I really enjoy having people there that I can socialize with and not having to worry about situations where I don’t have any ways of getting to the events because I love going to the social events. I also like the atmosphere I work in where everyone is cheerful and smiles and cares about each other. I absolutely love the fact that the office is in a convenient location where there is a convenience store and drugstore across the street and that if I needed bus tickets or if I needed something small, that I could walk and it would only take me 3 minutes each way. In other words, everything about my job is great and I love it!
By: Jason Sher
Our BBSP walkers were at Nathan Phillips Square, in the rain (!) for the Autism Speaks Toronto Walk For Now For Autism on Sunday June 16th 2013. The Toronto walk raised over $550,000 for autism research and services in our area! Hooray walkers! Check out the wet four-legged walkers!
From walking to golfing...
A tee off from the back of a horse! What else for the T.E.A.D. Equestrian Association for the Disabled golf tournament? BBSP sponsored a hole and attended the dinner at the 12th Annual Golf Tournament at Knollwood Golf Club to raise finds for this wonderful organization. Many of our clients have been and are riders gaining skills that as Cindy Wood, the spokesperson at this year's tournament shared in ways that extend well beyond the physical! This program was created in 1978 combining equestrian techniques with physical therapy. www.tead.on.ca
Although golfing is not our area of expertise, we have been involved in several golf tournaments this year. Autism Ontario (AO) Hamilton-Wentworth chapter has been hosting enormously successful sold out fund/raising golf tournaments annually as well. BBSP was there on Saturday May 25th 2013 with a PowerPoint presentation about the work that we do to support children diagnosed with autism and their families. As well, BBSP sponsors a hole at the tournament to improve the lives of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and this golf tournament helps support the work we do in partnership with AO.
"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." This quote from Mark Twain was the tag line for a fund-raiser for the ECHO program, a day program for adults with physical and or developmental disabilities. This kindness was in abundant supply as was the delicious food at the fund-raising dinner held at St. Mary's Church Hall hosted by the Portuguese Support Services for Quality Living. BBSP joined clients and community members in supporting this good cause! firstname.lastname@example.org
Other community events attended and supported by BBSP in 2013 already this year include the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards Evening, Autism Ontario Hamilton chapter An Evening at the Races and Slots, the Hamilton Gandhi Peace Festival dinner, Zonta Club's Hamilton 1- 85th anniversary celebration.
There are multiple different technologies that we use to help assist with communication and developing communication skills.
Building Blocks Speech Pathology
254 Bay St S, Hamilton, ON L8P 3J4