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Founded in Ontario in 1977, The Speech and Stuttering Institute (SSI) is a non-profit organization that fosters the development of innovative therapy programs and supports education and research in the field of communication disorders.
In recent years, the Ontario government recognized SSI as a “Centre for Training and Development,” which means the institute is relied upon to create speech and stuttering guidelines and train speech-language pathologists in Toronto and across the Province of Ontario.
AirBoss of America CFO, Frank Ientile, serves as chair for the organization, and he’s committed to sharing its message.
Four Decades of Speech Therapy Success
“This organization, with its very skilled and caring speech and language pathologists, has been transforming lives one patient at a time,” says Ientile. “It’s pretty amazing from that perspective.”
The Speech & Stuttering Institute has served the Toronto area and all of Ontario for over 40 years, helping patients and clients overcome and understand speech challenges.
The relatively small organization has a big reach through an ongoing commitment to cutting-edge research and practical application. Because of this ongoing research, the institute is able to organize and share evidence-based speech and stuttering therapy programs not only in Canada but around the world.
The Speech & Stuttering Institute has extensive experience with:
- Articulation/speech sound disorders
- Motor speech impairments
- Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)
- Late talkers
- and more
“They are a leader in this form of therapy,” explains Ientile. “It’s unbelievable, the work that they do, and how they really continue to push the envelope.”
COVID Challenges Create Unique Opportunities for Speech & Stuttering Institute
In March 2020, COVID-19 restrictions caused SSI to stop in-person speech therapy services. Remote therapy was previously offered to some clients but wasn’t often used with younger clients with motor speech disorders or other speech therapy needs. Since closing in-person therapy sessions, the institute has adapted to offer remote and virtual therapy options to all clients.
Traditionally, speech therapy sessions for children with motor speech needs often involved hands-on muscle manipulation to help children learn the mouth movements needed to produce sounds clearly and to learn the movement patterns for how words and syllables are meant to be pronounced.
These techniques weren’t possible when COVID forced the institute to operate without relying on all of the same treatment techniques available during in-person sessions.
“Obviously, when COVID began, you can’t be doing anything physical or face-to-face. So, it became a real challenge,” says Ientile. “Yet they pivoted to do it remotely, and they’re doing just fine, all things considered. There’s been some evolution and innovation to get it done.”
“The institute’s Speech-Language Pathologists combined their years of experience with new learning about virtual service delivery to continue to deliver high quality, motivating, and effective speech therapy to clients of all ages with both speech and stuttering needs.”
Ientile likens The Speech & Stuttering Institute to The Little Engine That Could. It’s an organization that has overcome obstacles and has continued, without wavering, to serve vulnerable communities.
“They’re very much focused on working with universities and other educational institutions to really drive the knowledge, methodology and elements that support both research and improving efficacy and techniques,” Ientile explains.
“It’s an organization that just kept going and is still going and is going strong. Our mission is to now support them to thrive and to get the message and the therapy out…[and] I’m going to carry on the work and support of this very important but small and yet unknown institute that continues to transform lives and really make a difference.”
The Speech & Stuttering Institute is a Canadian registered charity. To sustain its level of expertise and excellence in the field, and also provide subsidies for those in financial need, the institute counts on private donors, foundations and corporations for their philanthropic support.
Despite COVID challenges and changes to everyday life, demand for the institute’s services have stayed strong. SSI understands that communication is always a priority. It’s why the institute strives to always provide high-quality service to those with speech and stuttering challenges, and COVID-19 has created a greater need than ever for financial subsidy support.