Family frustrated by lack of English speech therapy services

Posted By: Shuyee Lee · 11/27/2012 6:00:00 AM


Speech therapists for children are hard to come by.

And a Chateauguay family is having a tough time finding those services in English.

Dianne Stanford was put on a waiting list for a speech therapist for her two four-year-old grandchildren who are extremely speech delayed, only to find out two months later the local CLSC didn't have any services in English and suggested they go to Montreal.

"And I was disgusted. You mean, we're the only English-speaking people in the Montérégie?"

And she said going to Montreal is not only inconvenient but comes with its own set of problems.

"You're on a list which will take about a year normally to be seen but anybody from Montreal who comes in after me will bump me on my list," Stanford told CJAD News.

The Health and Social Services Centre Jardins-Roussillon confirmed to CJAD that while they're not obliged to provide such services in English, they are happy to provide them if they're available, which they're not, citing the shortage of specialists, especially in the English language in the Montérégie. They say a task force will be struck to look into the matter.

For now, that won't help families such as Stanford's. She tried going the private route but can't afford it so she's still on a waiting list.

"I understand our Medicare system is strapped but you have to help the children," Stanford said.

"We're falling through the cracks because Medicare can't cover anything. It's wrong."

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  1. colett roussy posted on 11/27/2012 08:01 AM
    can you have this woman contact me I have the same problem and also live inChateauguy I have filed a complaint withmy MNA and eis uppose to dosmething with it ut he says I am the only oe with this poblem I have to o privat I have egstered wih the Monteal Fleutcy center in Montreal but it wil be costly and it will mean having to go to motreal
    1. Melissa Farkouh posted on 11/27/2012 01:16 PM
      @colett roussy Hi Colett,

      The Montreal Fluency Center offers a bursary program for families who qualify to get private funding. Check it out you will be dealing with a fantastic team!


      Speech-Language pathologist
      Montreal area
  2. Tammy posted on 11/27/2012 09:19 AM
    I understand the frustration of this grandmother as I am in the same situation. I am a 34 year old mother and I have multiple sclerosis. I live in Chateauguay as well. My son of two years old is in NEED of a speech therapist and maybe more. I've called many places such as the Montreal Children's Hospital and been refused because of where I live and that Anna Laberge Hospital in Chateauguay is suppose to offer the services and the CLSC as well. But, they do not offer services in English. I am already involved with the CLSC for home care. Since this department is different from the children's depatment they have no luk in helping me. This is maddening. I do not understand why out health care system is refusing to help our children who will become our future. This needs to change. The MNA are tied up when it comes to health care there are certain restrictions they cannot cross. I was told to go privately, but it is very costly and with my condition I do not have the means to spend on this since we are a one income family. I think Quebec should realize that this is an issue and fix it instead of chaging store names. Where is the logic in that?None!! WE have to fight for our rights and our children's to have the help we want in our own language ENGLISH!!!!
  3. sam posted on 11/27/2012 09:57 AM
    First off I am deeply sorry for your troubles to anyone seeking english help and being unable to find it. My son had learning disabilities as well and is seeing a speech therapist through his school. Which is what my suggestion is. Since you are both in Chateauguay have you thought to contact the english school board out there? They have people working in the school systems and perhaps something can be set up through them. The last thing you need is a long waiting list which will essesntially hurt and delay progress in your children's speech issues.
    Trying to find anything in english seems to be a real chore but it can be done. Think outside the box and thank you for going public with this. Its community awareness that allows us all to band together and sort this out.
  4. Tammy posted on 11/27/2012 10:37 AM
    I am writting you this letter to see if you can help me with a
    situation I am having regarding my two year old son. I am 34 years
    old and I have Multiple Sclerosis and I live in Chateauguay. It is
    hard to manage my own health and now to deal with my son.
    I am going to begin my story with the day I visited my son's
    pediatrican on October 4, 2012. She told me my son has a speech delay
    and to phone the Montreal Children's Hospital for a hearing test and
    speech therapy. I phoned the MCH to put my son on the waiting list
    they told me to fax my referral. The next day I get a phone call from
    the MCH telling me they are refusing me because I live in Chateuaguay
    and that Anna Laberge Hospital and the CLSC offer the services. I
    phoned Anna Laberge and they told me they do not offer the services in
    English. I phoned back MCH and they still refused me.
    Fot CLSC it is a different story. I am already in their system due to
    the fact that I get homecare so I have help for me and my son. I spoke
    to my Social Worker and she explained to me that the children's
    department is at a different CLSC named Kateri CLSC.She said she would
    phone. To her dismay they told her that his educator is suppose to
    come and evaluate Him. To our surprise his educator is on leave of
    absence.Her position was never filled. I phoned Kateri again and left
    messages and I am still waiting for Kateri to phone me back.
    This week I got a letter from MCH and it was written Deferral and to
    go to Anna Laberge or the CLSC. I am going in circles.
    The MCH told me to go private and I would get English services. I am
    When will there be help in English in Chateauguay?
  5. Adelina posted on 11/27/2012 12:16 PM
    I'd like to get in touch with this woman too. I live in Longueuil and I have just given up on finding speech therapy services for my 5 year old boy who really needs it. I just found out that the McGill Speech therapy program graduates about 20-25 students a year, half of which come from out of province. This means that all of them go back home after graduating, because they can't satisfy the french language requirement for getting a license to practice in Quebec. How is this good use of public funds?
    I am an occupational therapist and find apalling the way children are treated in this province. It's not just english-speaking children, it's all children. My son was just diagnosed with PDD and I was told that he will not have access to speech or OT at the rehab center, because these professionals are there only to support a team of educators, not give direct interventions. I estimate that within 5-10 years, there will no longer be professional services for children with special needs covered by medicare. I'm willing to pay for services at this point (why am I paying taxes again?), but it is not realistic to go all the way to the West Island every week. It might sound 'comfy' of me, but every appointment is half a day of work gone and him missing school and disturbing his routine. It is not trivial to want services within a reasonable distance. My son needs very little. He is in regular class. He just needs to improve his comprehension and pronunciation. Even paying $100 an hour, I can't find accessible speech therapy services on the south shore (or close by on the island) who will see a child with an autism spectrum disorder. No one will see him. I am hoping for the school to help out. They have been a god send!
    We should all take out our pots and pans and take to the streets. Watch the news everyone, because that's what I am intending to do.
  6. Melissa Farkouh posted on 11/27/2012 01:10 PM

    I am a speech-language pathologist working privately in the Montreal area. I do cater to both English and French speaking children and adults that require speech and language intervention, however I do know there is a great lack of English speaking therapists even on the island of Montreal. My husband heard your story and urged me to read it. I am saddened to know that services are lacking in your area and would like to help in any way possible. I have some ideas such as skype-therapy if you cannot travel to Montreal or perhaps you can take the drive here twice a month? I would like to offer you services or any resources if possible so do not hesitate to contact me via email at There are also some funding options for those who cannot afford private services so lets touch base and see what is the best fit for you.

    Best of luck,

    1. Denis Laflamme posted on 11/28/2012 12:45 PM
      @Melissa Farkouh HI,

      just wondering about the financing help you were talking about... any details available?

      thanks for the help.
  7. A posted on 11/27/2012 01:25 PM
    I also had the same problem; I was on the waiting list for over a year and a half. When our services did finally being we were told there was no English speaking SLP on staff that could help my daughter. They proceeded to try and give her Speech classes through the French SLP which were then translated by the special care counsellor in English (the special care counsellor was also French but could speak a bit of English). This obviously turned out to be a disaster, I am lucky enough to be able to afford private therapy. However the problem remains, these children are falling through the cracks. I was told that because my daughter undertsands eveything she will never be coded to receive speech therapy when she begins school next year!
  8. Lavallois posted on 11/27/2012 09:28 PM
    Dianne, I wish you anything but the best in this journey. We live in Laval, and anglophone SLP's are non-existant here as well. After 4 years of being on a waiting list and fighting the system, my son is finally getting therapies in the public sector. My recommendation is as follows: go to the MFC and get an evaluation for your grandchildren. A tad expensive but worth it. Once you have this report, you will know what immediate actions to take. I could provide you with working material which I have bought myself. The sooner you start, the better. Don't wait 'til they go to school because the excuse will be: "since they're already school-aged children, the school should provide for therapies", and in response, the school would say it is not their responsibility. Let's get in touch.
  9. Kelley posted on 11/28/2012 10:13 AM has at home speech therapy tools. Parents can use these tools online with their children to help them learn how to talk. So sorry to hear about your difficulties. Spch Lang was created because it's owner went through similar difficulties trying to speech therapy for her son.
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