Ontario Government and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital partner to launch FOCUS

July 18, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
This fall, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services will roll out Holland Bloorview's FOCUS (Focus on the Outcomes of Communication Under Six). "What makes FOCUS so innovative is that it focuses on the "real-world" changes in communication for preschool children following speech and language therapy," says Nancy Thomas-Stonell, scientist, Bloorview Research Institute. It's not about what the child can or cannot say, it's about how therapy is impacting the child as a whole. It considers changes outside of the clinical setting including improved social skills and the child's increased ability to make friends."

FOCUS is an innovative outcome measure created more than 14 years ago by Nancy Thomas-Stonell and her team in the Bloorview Research Institute. Years of hard work and collaboration with parents and research partner organizations across Canada has recently proven FOCUS to be valid, reliable and responsive.

"By implementing a provincial outcome measurement strategy centering on the FOCUS tool, the preschool speech and language program will be able to measure the impact of the program's services on children and better support families and clinicians to share important conversations about their child's progress" says Claire MacLean, acting manager, Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

Holland Bloorview recently hosted a FOCUS workshop where attendees included:
representatives from Ontario's Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres, Ontario Association of Children's Rehabilitation Services (OACRS), professional associations and universities including The Charles Sturt University of Australia, McGill University and the University of Central Arkansas.

To date, we don't have a measure that looks at the life changing impact of speech and language therapy. This is such a unique tool, there's currently nothing like it in the world" says Sharynne McLeod, professor of speech and language acquisition, Charles Sturt University. "World researchers and clinicians have been anxiously waiting for FOCUS we look forward to using this measure in the future."

About Holland Bloorview
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital is Canada's largest children's rehabilitation teaching hospital. Our vision is to create a world of possibility for kids with disabilities. Holland Bloorview is a world-class teaching hospital fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. We train future health-care specialists in the field of childhood disability.

About Bloorview Research Institute
Bloorview Research Institute a hospital-based research centre is dedicated to research and innovation related to childhood disability. The vision of the Bloorview Research Institute is to be an international leader in applied, multidisciplinary research and development that improves the quality of life and quality of care of children and youth with disabilities and special needs.