Our History

Once upon a time..

Once upon a time there was a little prairie girl by the name of Joyce Hignett, growing up on a farm near Young, Saskatchewan.

She loved animals and studied their behaviour, but wasn’t sure she wanted to be a veterinarian. In school, she loved English, the style, function and use of language, but wasn’t sure she wanted to be a writer or a teacher. She also loved Psychology, with the intricacies of human development, but wasn’t sure she wanted to be a psychologist or a doctor. Eureka! Joyce discovered the field of speech-language pathology, which encompassed aspects of all the areas she loved.

Fast forward a few years, past undergraduate and graduate programs, marriage and a new baby… Once Joyce became employed as a speech-language pathologist, she immediately fell in love with the trans-disciplinary team approach, working side by side with physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, and psychologists. Over the years, Joyce had worked in numerous settings – in hospitals, school boards, pediatric children’s centres, but she always gravitated towards settings where she could be part of the magic of a tightly-knit team.

In 2005, Joyce ventured gingerly into the world of private practice, working from her home, equipped with games, books, and a couple of nosy dogs. It was wonderful! Clients received personalized support, tailored precisely to their needs. And in return, every new client was a gift of new knowledge and success. In 2008, armed with a growing caseload and a small team of clinicians, Speak Freely Therapy Services moved into its very own clinic location. More space, more staff, more stuff, more clients, and more learning for everybody! The rest, as they say, is history!


“Joyce Hignett and her staff are knowledgeable and thorough. They know when to push and when to let up. My child gets the full undivided attention of his therapist when he is at Speak Freely and I find he learns more in his one hour session than I ever expected. My child has been with Speak Freely Therapy Services since opening.”

– parent

“There are no ulterior motives at Speak Freely Therapy Services. These are dedicated professionals who give 100% of themselves with the best interest of your child in mind. Highly expert, friendly, compassionate, with a high degree of integrity: I trust them. Our son has been a regular there for over a year and the gains are amazing. He has grown so much with their help. We’ve used both the OT and speech services and highly, highly recommend.”

– JJ, parent and teacher

“As an educational consultant who has worked with Joyce Hignett over a period of years, I have become aware of her dedication and determination to provide the most comprehensive and effective strategies possible in order to improve the speech/communication issues of her clients. I have been particularly impressed with her very direct, practical approach and that she understands the importance of providing a functional, meaningful context for communication as an integral part of her service.”

– LN, teacher and independent consultant

Our Office

149 Welham Road, Unit 19
Barrie, ON L4N 8Y3

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