Children's rehabilitation services
Learn about the physical, occupational and communication rehabilitation services and support available for children and youth up to 19 years old.
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Children and youth with special needs may require rehabilitation services if they experience challenges or delays in their development in areas such as:
- motor skills
Children’s rehabilitation services support children with special needs to participate fully at home, school and in the community.
Through Children’s Treatment Centres, a range of rehabilitation and treatment services are available for children and youth with special needs in the community and in publicly-funded schools.
Children's Treatment Centres provide services to more than 180,000 children and youth with special needs every year.
To children and youth up to 19 years old (18 years old and younger) can access rehabilitation services, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech-language therapy, if they have:
- physical disabilities
- developmental disabilities
- communication disorders
You do not need a formal referral to access services. However, education or health professionals may refer you for services.
Children’s Treatment Centres also provide these services in schools to students enrolled in Ontario public schools. Students attending publicly funded elementary or secondary school may access these services until they finish school.
Types of rehabilitation services
Physiotherapy (PT) helps through physical rehabilitation, injury prevention and health and fitness. Physiotherapy services may include assessment, diagnosis, and treatment to restore, maintain, and make the most of a child’s mobility, function, and well-being.
Occupational therapy (OT) helps to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment function in the areas of self-care, productivity and leisure. Occupational therapy services may include:
- assessment of function and adaptive behavior
- treatment and prevention of disorders that affect function or adaptive behaviour
Speech and language therapy
Speech and language therapy helps to develop maintain, rehabilitate or augment oral motor or communication function. Speech and language therapy services may include:
- assessment of speech and language functions
- prevention and treatment of speech and language dysfunction or disorders
- providing and/or helping families get prescribed specialized equipment, supplies or goods
Apply for preschool speech and language services
Young children with speech and language disorders might also be eligible for preschool speech and language services from the time they are born until they start school. These services will help your child develop communication and early literacy skills, so they are ready to start school.
Learn more about preschool speech and language services.
The SmartStart Hubs will provide a clear point of entry to child development services for parents and caregivers who have concerns about their child’s development. The SmartStart Hubs will bring together local professionals in early intervention and child development services and seamlessly connect families to services in their communities.
Starting in April 2022, Children’s Treatment Centres across the province, and Surrey Place in Toronto, will begin setting up new SmartStart Hubs to connect families with child development services. By the end of this year, all 22 SmartStart Hubs are expected to be delivering services to families. You will be able to contact your local Hub if you have concerns about your child’s development and would like to have a discussion to explore your concerns and discuss your child’s development, strengths and possible support needs.
By contacting a SmartStart Hub you will get:
- a consistent, strengths-based and child and family-centred approach to understanding children’s strengths and support needs
- streamlined connections to assessments and services
- early access to family-based supports
You are not required to go to a SmartStart Hub to access child development services. SmartStart Hubs are intended for families who are not sure where to go to access services, or what services they should receive. If you know your child’s support needs and where to go to access a particular service, you can still contact that service directly.
Contact your local Children’s Treatment Centre to find out what services are available to support your child’s development needs.
Find children’s rehabilitation services
Use this table to find a Children’s Treatment Centre in your area. For more information about services and locations, contact Empowered Kids Ontario (EKO).
You can also contact your local regional office for more information.