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Publicly funded SLP options for children in Vancouver, BC



As an SLP and a parent to a child with a complex medical history and developmental delays, I understand the desire to make sure your child is receiving all of the services that they are entitled to and may benefit from, but it can be difficult to know what is available to you and your child.


Below, I have compiled a list of publicly funded SLP services that I have come across in my time working as a speech language pathologist in Vancouver, BC. The services listed are available to children residing in the Vancouver area specifically, however some (or their local equivalents) may be available in other communities throughout British Columbia as well. If you know of services that I have not listed, please let me know, and I will add them.


Early Intervention (0-5 years)

 

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) provides early intervention SLP services to children from birth to five years residing in Vancouver, Richmond, and North Vancouver. Services are offered through your local health unit. Referrals are accepted from all sources, meaning you can refer your child without needing a nurse or doctor etc. to refer them by completing this form.


The BC Centre for Ability (BCCFA) offers SLP services to children from birth to five years who have a physical, intellectual, neurological, or developmental disability and reside in Vancouver, Burnaby, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, or Richmond. Referrals are accepted from all sources using the following form and selecting ‘Early Intervention Program.’ Occupational and physical therapies are also offered through the BCCFA.


School Aged (5-18 years)

 

The Vancouver School Board (VSB) provides SLP support to children enrolled in public schools. In order to receive this service, ask your child’s teacher to identify them to the SLP assigned to their school when your child enters kindergarten (or anytime after if you have concerns at a later date).


Specialist Programs

 

Assistive Technology – Children with limited spoken and written communication can access assessment and support to use an augmentative and alternative communication system (AAC) such as a tablet with an app for communication through the Sunnyhill Health Centre at BC Children’s Hospital. A referral for the neuromotor program must be made by a physician to access this service. The referral form can be found here.


Hearing Impairment – The Children’s Hearing and Speech Centre is a non-profit organization that provides early intervention, daycare, preschool, and some elementary school, as well as support during higher grades for children with hearing loss. While this is not a free service, they have bursaries and funding available for those who need it. Please see their website for more information.


Private Speech Therapy While You Wait

 

Often due to long waitlists associated with these services, some families seek the help of a private SLP to bridge the gap until their child can access publicly funded SLP services. Saplings Speech and Language Therapy is here to help you and your child. We are pleased to be accepting new clients for a fall 2022 start. Send us an enquiry through our contact us form or directly to jennifer@saplingsspeech.ca to secure an appointment time for your child now.

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