How Much Does Speech Therapy Cost In Toronto?
People need speech therapy for all kinds of reasons. Some children have speech difficulties resulting from conditions like autism, cerebral palsy, expressive or receptive aphasia, and impaired hearing. Issues with speech can also arise as a result of traumatic brain injuries, tumours, and strokes. Speech therapists can help their clients both in the acquisition of new language skills and in the recovery of skills that have been lost.
For people who are seeking help for loved ones, the process of finding a speech therapist can be overwhelming. This is due to the fact that speech difficulties are complex and finding a therapist who is a good match can seem challenging, and the reality that with some exceptions, speech therapy is not funded by the Ontario government.
What Does A Speech Therapist Do?
A speech therapist, or speech-language pathologist (SLP) is a highly trained professional with, at minimum, a master’s degree. Because speech problems can have such a wide range of causes, most SLPs have education in anatomy, physiology, linguistics, psychology, language development, and much more. The services provided, and the methods used to provide those services, depend on the individual’s needs and challenges.
Examples of what an SLP can help with include the following:
- Motor speech disorders: difficulty with the physical mechanisms of speech
- Language delays: trouble with expressive language (communication expressed by the individual) and receptive language (communication expressed to the individual)
- Fluency disorders such as stuttering
- Problems in infants and toddlers that could lead to speech delays, such as swallowing disorders and teething problems
- Cognitive-communication disorders such as social communication, executive functioning, and problem-solving
- Literacy skills, such as decoding and reading comprehension
While most people associate speech therapy with children, it is important to remember that many adults have speech therapy needs resulting from dementia, stroke, brain trauma, neurological conditions, and other causes.
The Cost Of Speech Therapy In Toronto
Due to the complex nature of speech challenges and the uniqueness of peoples’ needs, speech therapy can only be successful if it is individualised to the client. The strategies used for an autistic child who struggles with expressive language will be different to those used for an adult who has lost motor functioning as a result of brain trauma.
Because different approaches to speech therapy involve different levels of intensity and specialisation, and use different tools and equipment, the cost is not going to be the same from one client to the next. If you or a loved one are starting speech therapy services, your SLP will create a treatment program based on your unique needs and challenges. They will discuss their recommendations and any associated costs with you prior to starting therapy.
In addition to the speech therapy approach being used, there are some factors that can affect the amount you can expect to pay.
Is The Client A Preschooler?
The cost of SLP services is not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP). However, the Province of Ontario funds the Preschool Speech & Language Program, which is aimed at ensuring that all preschool-aged children have the opportunity to achieve optimal communication development prior to starting school. Administered by Surrey Place, the program is available to all children in Toronto up until the time they are eligible to start full-time Kindergarten.
Do You Have Health Insurance?
Although OHIP will not pay for your SLP sessions, your health insurance plan might. This can eliminate or significantly reduce your own personal cost, but there are some things you should find out prior to starting speech therapy:
- How will payments work? In some cases, the SLP will bill the insurance company and be paid by them. More commonly, you will have to pay your SLP directly and be reimbursed by your insurance provider.
- Most insurance plans that cover SLP services have limits to the number of sessions per year, or the dollar amount that can be claimed per year.
- Many insurance providers will only pay up if the SLP is on their list of recommended providers.
Where Will Therapy Take Place?
In most cases, your SLP will provide services at their location, but sometimes they will see you or your loved one in a hospital, rehab centre, or other healthcare facility. In some instances, it may be determined that services would be better delivered in the client’s home environment where there is more contextual relevance. In this case, you are likely to incur an additional fee for mileage.
Are Other Services Being Provided?
Sometimes speech therapy is a standalone tool; other times it is provided alongside other services such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Some SLPs work in clinical practices that also include other kinds of specialists. In these cases, you may be charged for the bundle of services you are receiving.
What Is The Mode Of Delivery?
Almost unheard of until relatively recently, the availability of virtual speech therapy is growing. This allows SLPs to provide services to clients using an online platform such as Zoom. Because virtual sessions cost less to conduct than in-person sessions, you may be offered a discounted rate for this mode of delivery.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions
While you may be anxious to get started with speech therapy for yourself or a loved one, it is important that you first clear up any concerns regarding cost and affordability of services. A good SLP practice will gladly answer any questions you may have. If you cannot work with the fee structure that is presented to you, the SLP may offer lower-cost alternatives, such as group sessions or classes. If there is a need for speech therapy, these alternatives may not suffice over the long-term, but they could well allow you or your loved one to make progress while you are making arrangements to cover the costs of one-on-one speech therapy.
Therapy Spot is a speech therapy clinic in Toronto with experience in autism, childhood development acquired brain injuries, and much more. Contact us today for a free 15-minute assessment.