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  • News
  • December 08, 2014

Reducing Waitlists for Pre-School Speech and Language Program in York Region

Helping More Children with Speech and Language Challenges

Markham-Unionville MPP Michael Chan is pleased to announce that Ontario is helping more children in York Region with speech and language difficulties by reducing wait times for speech and language services.

This year, Markham Stouffville Hospital will receive an additional $298,945. This funding will help children in York Region get the support they need sooner.

“This important funding will benefit Markham-Unionville families whose young children need these supports to prepare for school and learning success.”
— Michael Chan, M.P.P., Markham-Unionville

“So many children can have their futures changed by early investment in their communication capabilities. The Child Development program at the Markham Stouffville Hospital is thrilled with the recent announcement of additional funding. This money will go directly to reducing wait times which will allow children to enter school with communication skills and capabilities that will help them assimilate with others in their class, allowing them to focus on learning and growing not, hiding and being afraid to speak.”
— Janet Beed, C.E.O., Markham Stouffville Hospital  

Additional funding is being provided to Ontario’s 31 Pre-School Speech and Language lead agencies which provide services to children with communications 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.

“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


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


Find out more about speech and language disorders

Find your local Preschool Speech and Language Program

Check out Ontario’s Special Needs Strategy

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