We hosted free speech therapy in our local community and it was amazing!
Background: The wait-lists for public speech therapy are too long and not everyone has access to private therapy. While we already offer a reduced fee for individuals who need it and occasional pro bono spots, we wanted to have a larger and more sustainable impact. So our next step was approaching local businesses for sponsorship. We found a good match with Master Mechanic in Roncesvalles who sponsored on block of therapy for a child! While that was great, and we continue to try to partner with local businesses (get in touch if you're interested), it wasn't enough for now. So we decided to host Free Speech Days!
On January 12, 19, and 26, 2020, we hosted three Free Speech Days for kids at our Roncesvalles clinic in Toronto. Parents and their kids came out for one hour of speech therapy each day with SLPs and volunteers from our organization and the community!
We offered a total of 19 free sessions, including assessment and treatment, one-on-one and in groups! This includes families that came back every week to make more progress on their goals, which they did!
All this would have been impossible without all our volunteers who helped us plan the event, spread the word, and actually run the free sessions. This includes SLPs from the community and schools in the neighborhood as well as our own Andalusia Speech Therapy SLPs and volunteers. We are grateful to them for helping us all come together and create this wonderful opportunity to connect with and support our community.
The feedback was incredible: we had a family driving out from Scarborough (nearly an hour away), we had parents in tears because they heard their child saying a sound for the first time that they couldn't before, and we had so many parents let us know that they were grateful it was on a Sunday so they could attend without taking time off work and learn so much about their child's articulation.
Most of all, the kids seem to have a lot of fun, learned a lot about their speech goals, and made progress! With all the parent training we did (parents participated in all the sessions), we think the work is sustainable too!
If you want to support a Free Speech Days in the future, let us know! If you have any other collaboration ideas, we are a social enterprise at heart and would love to collaborate for speech therapy related to kids or adults in Toronto or online.
The Andalusia Speech Team
_________________________________________________________________________________Andalusia Speech Therapy has two Toronto speech therapy clinics and offers speech teletherapy to anywhere in the world. Contact us more for information.