Parents, guardians and caregivers who have concerns about their child’s development and well-being can now receive free advice and guidance through a new phone service launched recently by Alberta Health Services.
By calling Health Link at 811, Albertans with concerns about their child’s development — including speech, movement and hearing — can be redirected to the new Pediatric Rehabilitation Line and speak with an occupational therapist or another appropriate allied health professional.
“Alberta Health Services (AHS) is taking action focused on improving patient flow and providing more care options to Albertans,” says Health Minister Jason Copping in a statement. “It’s about getting the right care to Albertans where and when they need it, and this new Pediatric Rehabilitation Line does just that.”
The Pediatric Rehabilitation Line provides advice to parents and caregivers of infants, children and youth (birth to 18 years) who have concerns about developmental milestones in areas such as:
• Moving and playing (e.g., crawling, walking, coordination, playing with toys, using utensils).
• Talking and listening (e.g., babbling, using words and sentences, speech sounds, understanding directions, stuttering, voice quality).
• Taking care of self (e.g., dressing, toileting, sleeping).
• Managing emotions (e.g., calming self, becoming overwhelmed or overstimulated).
• Difficulty eating or swallowing (e.g., coughing, gagging).
• Hearing (e.g., responding to sounds, noise, voices, words).
The Pediatric Rehabilitation Line can also help callers who are looking for local services and/or current rehabilitation resources, such as links to information or webinars, or need support to help a child or youth recover from COVID-19.
The Pediatric Rehabilitation Line is integrated into the existing Rehabilitation Advice Line, which is staffed by physiotherapists and occupational therapists, and was launched in 2020. The Rehabilitation Advice Line (1-833-379-0563) answers more than 10,000 calls per year.
Callers to the Rehabilitation Advice Line can also be asked to be redirected to the Pediatric Rehabilitation Line during operating hours: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
AHS also offers free webinars that cover a range of developmental topics for children and youth from birth to 18 years. Topics range from toilet training and tummy time to emotional regulation and speech development, as well as many others.
Most sessions are live, meaning participants can ask questions during the session. Some sessions are pre-recorded. Webinars are delivered on Zoom and require registration in advance. Information and registration for the free webinars can be accessed at myhealth.alberta.ca.
AHS encourages all Albertans who are seeking health advice for non-urgent health concerns to learn about their care option by visiting www.ahs.ca/options.