As of April 1, 2022, Toronto Public Health is no longer providing Preschool Speech and Language, Blind-Low Vision and Infant Hearing programs. These programs have moved from Toronto Public Health to Surrey Place. To make a referral or for more information, please contact Surrey Place at 416-925-5141. Learn more about this change.
Speech and language development is a very important part of intellectual, social and emotional development in children. Problems with communication development in preschool children are surprisingly common. One out of every ten preschool children experiences some type of speech and/or language delay.
The main goal of the Preschool Speech and Language Program is to ensure that every child in Ontario achieves their optimal communication potential. Children are eligible to receive all preschool speech and language program services from birth until they reach their junior kindergarten year.
Speech-Language Pathologists assess a child’s speech, language and overall communication development to identify any areas where a delay or disorder might be present.
If the assessment identifies a delay or disorder, the Speech-Language Pathologist will develop a treatment plan with goals that are specific to the child’s level of need. The actual type of service and the method of delivery are also determined by the child’s level of need and the family/caregiver’s practical requirements. This may include:
Workshops led by Preschool Speech and Language Program staff provide parents/caregivers with practical ways to help their children learn new skills.
Consultation services may be offered in community settings and/or by telephone to provide parents/caregivers with language stimulation strategies or suggestions that can be used in daily situations.
Speech-Language Pathologists may develop a program that can be carried out by the family in the home, over several months.
Speech-Language Pathologists may train and supervise an individual to follow through with a treatment plan.
Group or individual therapy sessions may be provided. Whenever possible, children are grouped with others who will benefit from a similar approach.
Some children may only require minimal intervention. The Preschool Speech and Language Program will follow the child’s progress to determine the need for further support.
With parental permission, the Preschool Speech and Language Program will share information about the child’s ongoing service needs with the School Board, prior to the child starting school.
The Preschool Speech and Language Program provides a series of workshops and seminars designed to meet the needs of both parents and professionals seeking detailed information regarding speech and language development.
To access these services in Toronto, contact Surrey Place. For services in other regions, please visit the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
If the child is attending school and needs a speech and language assessment, parents should speak to the child’s teacher or the school principal. They will then make a referral to the speech-language pathologist from the child’s school (TDSB or TCDSB) to see the child.
Speech and language services are also available in the community. Families can visit the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario to find a registered practitioner. There may be a cost associated with community-based speech and language services.