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HomeNewsLong Waiting List For In-School Speech Therapy Means Some Local Kids Are...

Long Waiting List For In-School Speech Therapy Means Some Local Kids Are Falling Behind

KAWARTHA LAKES-1,334 children are on the waiting list for speech and language services in the Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough and areas serviced by Five Counties, with an average wait time of 18-24 months. For some services such as speech therapy, the wait times can run up to three years.

“We haven’t been able to get into schools for 18 months,” Said Darlene Callan, Director of Clinical Services, Five Counties. “There’s no denying that our waitlist did grow during the pandemic. We were very creative and we saw children virtually if we could and the therapist would meet with kids virtually and give examples of what to do at home.”

The need for the Centre’s speech-language and communication therapies grows every year according to Five Counties. Because of the increasing need, some children have to wait, falling further behind. To try to fill the gap, Five Counties Children’s Centre recently announce the launch of the Building Abilities for Life Campaign, a $250,000 community fundraising initiative in support of the priority need for speech and language services for children in all the communities Five Counties Children’s Centre serves.

“Five Counties Children’s Centre’s ‘Building Abilities for Life’ campaign addresses the investment needed to support as many children and their families in our communities as possible in speech and language therapy, which is our highest need program,” says Scott Pepin, CEO of Five Counties Children’s Centre.

Five Counties Children’s Centre works with families and community partners to provide evidence-based care for children and youth with physical, developmental and communication needs; building their independence and enriching their quality of life.

In 2020/2021 the speech and communication programs supported 1,452 kids to receive speech and language services with over 1,300 still waiting.

“This campaign is important because we know the earlier a child can receive treatment, the more likely it is they can reach their full communication potential,” says Scott Pepin. “This investment carries forward into adulthood, where having these improved skills will continue to provide a positive impact on their quality of life.”

While the waitlist grows, Five Counties says it is having a hard time finding staff. They are currently short four Speech-Language Pathologists across all sites as well as trying to backfill maternity leaves.

“We are having difficulty staffing up to fill those positions, especially in Lindsay. It’s a small community.  The price of housing is a barrier,  there aren’t places to rent for young therapists who are on their own and want to come to our community. That becomes a challenge so we see people going further north.”

Funding from the Abilities for Life campaign will mean more kids and their families will continue to receive our services in person, by phone and virtually. This ensures children learn how to feed, swallow, improve speech and language skills and have access to adaptive communication equipment when they need help the most. Our donors are part of the solution for kids and families to get the early intervention that is key to building their abilities for life.

“There’s nothing better than making a difference in the life of a child,” Callan told Kawartha 411 news. “We really do support hiring graduates from our community and we want our young people to have jobs here.”  

In 2020/2021, the Centre served 4,430 children and their families. Five Counties Children’s
Centre has been dedicated to supporting children and youth with physical, developmental and communications needs for more than 45 years.

The Centre provides outpatient and community-based services including: physiotherapy,
occupational therapy, speech language therapy, augmentative communication services, recreation, social work, resource consultants, specialized clinics such as palate-facial management, seating, orthopedic, Botox and spina bifida clinics.

To donate click here:https://www.fivecounties.on.ca/balcampaign/



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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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