Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find a speech pathologist?


Vancouver Coastal Health funds speech and language services up until age 5. However, there may be a lengthy waitlist. If that is the case and you don’t feel comfortable waiting, you may want to seek out services from a private practitioner in the meantime to get started. Check which has a list of qualified speech pathologists in your area that may be able to help.

How long will it take for my child to improve or master skills? 


This depends on a number of things: the nature and severity of the problem, age, motivation or readiness, consistent attendance in therapy, family involvement, home practice, rates of learning, and any other concurrent conditions if they are present, to name a few. If a child is not progressing at a steady rate after a trial period of therapy, it may be best to wait and reinitiate therapy at a later date. Your speech language pathologist will regularly update you on progress and recommend a course of therapy.

Do you take private (secondary insurance)? Is there funding available for private speech therapy?


If you have secondary insurance through your employer, it may reimburse you for speech/language therapy services. It is advised that you check the specifics of your insurance coverage beforehand. I do not bill your insurance directly; this is something you arrange. I am paid at time of service and can provide you with a receipt.


Please check this link for information about funding in BC:

Do you have a clinic or do you travel to my home? 


 Before COVId-19 I would typically travel to your home to provide speech therapy services, and at times travel to a preschool, school, or daycare setting, depending on the circumstances and served families on the North Shore.Currently, I offer consultations by phone or video (your choice!), and mobile coaching for language delay anywhere in BC. Please see my services page for descriptions and fees.  

What age groups do you work with?


During the pandemic I currently work in the area of language delay (birth-3). Please see my services page

I worry that my child may have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) but I’m not sure where to turn. Where can I find help or more information? 


It is understandable to feel confused and even overwhelmed and scared when suspecting your child may be on the autism spectrum. The fact that you want to find out more is commendable and the important first step in advocating for your child and obtaining help for him/her as soon as possible. Again, you know your child best so if something seems amiss, there is no harm in finding out more information, especially because early intervention is so very important in learning new skills. It is advised not to take the “wait and see” approach. Luckily, there are many supports in place for families when dealing with ASD. 


It is advised you bring your concerns immediately to your family physician with specific details of your concerns. Document your concerns so that you will have them ready in case an assessment is recommended. Although a speech pathologist cannot make an official diagnosis on his/her own, he/she is trained to look for signs or red flags that may indicate that there is a problem. Not all children on the spectrum share all the same signs, that is why it is called a spectrum. Because one of the hallmarks of ASD is difficulty with social communication, speech therapy is extremely important, and should be seriously considered if recommended by a SLP and continued, even if there is a wait list for a comprehensive assessment.  ASD may also co-occur with other conditions.  Diagnosis is usually done by a team, headed by a developmental pediatrician or psychiatrist or psychologist, along with input and documentation from the SLP. If your child is being seen by a private SLP, ask him/her if they can provide documentation, notes, or a progress summary as this will be invaluable information to the team assessing your child. It is Important that the team collects data and observes/assesses a child in several contexts before making a diagnosis. It is also beneficial if the parents facilitate communication between professionals in the circle of care so that all parties can be kept up to date so they can collaborate together to implement therapy planning.


If your child is given a diagnosis, recommendations will be made regarding appropriate treatment. If speech therapy is recommended and a diagnosis is in place, funding is available. For more information:

My child was just diagnosed with ASD. Are you on The RASP list?

No. Please check this link for practitioners that are on the RASP list and taking new clients

I have a kindergarten child who has difficulty with some speech sounds. Do you see kids this age?


During the pandemic I will only be working with language delay ages birth-3 (please see services page)

I am worried about my child’s speech or language but my family doctor says not to worry and it’s ok to wait. I still feel uncomfortable. What should I do? 


It is always wise to consult with your physician first as they should be aware of your concerns and can review your child’s overall development with you. Describe your concerns with specific examples. For example, is there a concern with specific speech sounds, delayed talking (speaking few or no words?), understanding language? You should also seek out a hearing assessment to rule that out as a possible cause for speech or language delay. Become familiar with normal speech and language development; here are some links to some reputable sources.

If you are still worried, despite what your family physician says however, I always tell parents to trust their instincts; after all, you know your child best and you are your child’s advocate. There really is no benefit to waiting.  After you obtain a hearing assessment, seek out a speech and/or  language assessment. There is no harm in finding out just how your child is doing and your fears will either be put to rest or you may find your instincts were spot on and you can then seek out some assistance with speech and language skills. Early intervention is very important for this age group because many children, if left untreated, are at more risk for reading and learning difficulties down the road.

Valerie Cundiff, M.S. SLP (R)

Registered Speech Language Pathologist with the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professions of BC (CSHBC)




office: 354 Tempe Crescent, North Vancouver, BC V7N1E6

phone: 778 867-0395

Any unresolved concerns about my practice may be reported to the CSHBC, 900-200 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 1S4  |  |  604 742-6380

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