CHF Speech & Communication Group 2020

As 2020 is beginning we are working diligently on getting the CHF Speech, Friendship, and Communication Group back up and running. We were able to service around 50 children last year, and are hoping that number grows this year. We are VERY proud of this resource, and all the benefits it has been offering our local families.

***It is available to individuals with Down syndrome ages 2 and up. Please do not hesitate to email if you are interested in more information or signing up for the group.

Goals of the program:

Participants are in groups of 3-4, geared to developing communication and conversation skills amongst peers. Traditional speech and language therapy is imbedded within a natural communicative situation. Many children feel comfortable using communication within familiar settings and with adults in their environment. CHF groups facilitate and develop the natural back and forth conversation a child or teen would naturally have with peers.  

The group is geared toward initiating, directing, asking questions and getting interested in the likes and needs of their peers.

Each child’s individual communication goals and concerns will be incorporated into the group session. This can include motor speech goals, language goals, social language goals, and behaviour issues. Each participant will receive a detailed report which will outline individual goals, and practical activities to implement those goals at home or at school. 


The focus for all of the age groups is to develop communication skills through verbal, gestures, and communication systems. The specific focus for each age group is listed below. NOTE: Ability grouping (not based on age) may occur depending on the needs of each individual participant with the goal being to find a functional group dynamic.

2-4 Year olds:  Focus is for children to notice each other and initiate interactions with each other. Children begin to learn to take turns and share in this group. Early emotions and identification of these emotions are introduced. Parent training includes turn taking within an interaction, motor speech development and the use of social function of language.


5-8- Year olds: Children continue to learn to turn take and share within this group. The focus is for children to initiate with each other and learn the beginning steps of perspective taking. Identification and explanations of emotions are targeted.  Parent training includes the use of social function of language in your child’s environment and with others. Teaching them to notice and understand that people have different wants and how to ask questions to peers.

9-12 Year olds: Children learn to work on emotion identification and management, perspective taking and conversation rules. Parent training includes balancing interactions with questions and comments, friendship and interaction skills and the use of social function of language.

13-16 Year olds:  Teens learn to identify emotions and modify communication and behaviour based on the perspectives of others. The focus is for teens to interact and initiate with each other.  Parent training includes developing perspective taking, modifying behaviours based on social expectations, and the use of social function of language.

17 & Up: The focus of this group is to work on beginning or developing skills like job placement conversation, executive functioning for increased independent work habits, and interview skills for co-op and job interviews. Parent training includes developing and encouraging opportunities for the individual to be independent.