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Reducing Waitlists for Preschool Speech and Language Programs

News Release

Reducing Waitlists for Preschool Speech and Language Programs

Helping 10,000 More Children with Speech and Language Challenges

Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Ontario is helping 10,000 more children with speech and language difficulties by reducing wait times for speech and language services.

Additional funding is being provided to Ontario's 31 Preschool Speech and Language lead agencies which provide services to children with communication challenges from birth to the time they start school. These services include:

  • Assessment of a child's communication skills
  • Interventions such as parent workshops, group therapy and individual therapy
  • Transition planning when a child is eligible to start school
  • Referrals to other agencies, if needed

Supporting children and youth to reach their full potential is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Quick Facts

  • The Ontario government is increasing funding by almost $7 million over the next two years to the Preschool Speech and Language Program, which is delivered through 31 lead agencies across the province.
  • Last year, more than 58,000 children received Preschool Speech and Language services.
  • About one in 10 children needs help developing speech and language skills.
  • Services through Ontario's Preschool Speech and Language Program are free of cost and do not require a doctor's referral.

Additional Resources

Quotes

Tracy MacCharles

“Speech and language skills are essential to children’s development. When we address communication difficulties early, we increase a child’s ability to learn and succeed. Today’s announcement will help children get the support they need sooner. This government has heard the concerns of families and is taking action to improve the service and outcomes of children and youth with special needs across the province.”

Tracy MacCharles

Minister of Children and Youth Services

“Speech, language and literacy development in the early years play a critical role in all aspects of children’s development and are essential in developing their love of learning. Arriving at school with these skills helps them learn and be curious and successful in school and in life. Addressing speech and language challenges early, when their little brains are most sensitive to change and support, helps prepare children for life and succeed in school.”

Dr. Jean Clinton

Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University

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