VANCOUVER -- A boost in funding means there will be 13 additional spaces for speech and language therapists at the University of B.C.
The ministry of health, which has identified speech-language pathologists as one of its priorities to address shortages of health professionals, will provide a total of $3.4 million in startup and ongoing operating funding to add student spaces in the speech-language pathology program at UBC. The funding will allow UBC to add 13 first-year speech-language pathology spaces - seven starting in 2015-16, and another six in 2016-17 - for a total of 36 first-year spaces.
The speech-language pathology program at UBC trains speech and language therapists, who help identify, assess and treat communications disorders in areas such as speech, language, voice, stuttering and swallowing disorders.
They also consult with other health-care professionals and support workers, school personnel, families and caregivers, as well as autism intervention teams.
An estimated one in 10 people in British Columbia have a speech or language disorder. One in 68 Canadian children has autism and all experience a speech-language difficulty.