Ontario Expands Support for Special Needs

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Ontario now has a new space offering services for children and youth who have special needs.

Children and Youth Services minister Michael Coteau and Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi officially opened the new Five Counties Children's Centre location at 800 Division St. earlier this week.

The province invested $450,000 to help Five Counties Children's Centre build a new, central treatment space to meet the needs of children and youth with special needs, and their families.

The new space relocates two older Five Counties branches into a single, new and central location with more accessible treatment spaces.

Five Counties offers a range of services, including social work, audiology and therapeutic recreation for children and youth who have physical disabilities, speech disorders and developmental co-ordination disorders.

The new treatment centre adds to a list of branches in Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton and Northumberland counties.

The province supports 21 Children's Treatment Centres and helps more than 76,000 children and youth receive rehabilitation services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech language therapy.

In 2016-2017, the province invested more than $500 million in such programs and services for children and youth with special needs and their families.

“It is difficult to know the exact number of children and youth receiving special needs services in Ontario because many of these children and youth have multiple needs and receive multiple services.”

According to a 2013 report from the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children and Youth Services, “It’s difficult to know the exact number of children and youth receiving special needs services in Ontario because many of these children and youth have multiple needs and receive multiple services.”

The report estimates between 97,000 to 235,000 children and youth in Ontario have special needs.

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