If you think that your child’s speech and language development is slow or that your child is struggling to communicate, the first thing you can do is Trust Your Instincts – if you have a concern you are likely to be correct and you should seek help. Even if further investigation reveals that your child’s speech and language development is age appropriate you will be reassured.
To help you decide if there is a problem, you can check to find out whether your child is reaching age appropriate developmental milestones. You can find information on speech and language development:
- Speech and Language milestone charts available on the following websites:
- Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services:
- Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC)
- From your Doctor or Nurse Practitioner
- From the public health nurses at the local Public Health Unit (Public Health Unit Locations)
- Or by talking to the classroom teacher, if your child has started school.
Finding Speech and Language Services to Help your Child
Preschool age Children
Ontario has a Preschool Speech and Language (PSL) Programs across the province. Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) are able to assess your child’s speech and language development and provide services to help your child develop the skills they need. To find the contact information for the Preschool Speech and Language Program in your area check the MCCSS site, Preschool Speech and Language Program Locations.
School Age Children
Once children have started school the classroom teacher is the first person you should share your concerns with about your child’s speech and language development. If your child has been seen by the local Preschool Speech and Language Program there is a transition process that enables the PSL to share information (with your consent) about your child’s speech and language development at the start of school.
However, for some children the problems with speech and language development may only become noticeable when the child is at school. In kindergarten the child should be able to communicate with the teacher, the Early Childhood Educator and the other children in the class room. Other children may only start to have problems as they learn to read or start reading to learn.
If you have concerns it is important you talk to the classroom teacher. In many cases both you and the teacher will notice the problem and start talking to each other. The teacher may try different strategies to help the child, or they may request help from the special education teacher, or a referral to a Speech-Language Pathologist.
Private Speech-Language Pathologists
Some parents who have concerns about the length of waiting lists or who would like to see a Speech-Language Pathologists privately can do so. To find out about the location of a private SLP who will assess children, you can check the following websites:
- OSLA – Find a Private Speech-language Pathologist or Audiologist
- CASLPO – Find a Registered Speech-Language Pathologist or Audiologists
All Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists are regulated professionals who are governed by their college.
You can check with your employer to find out if your Extended Health Care Benefits that will cover SLP services.
Ideas on How you can Help Your Child At Home
Check the Communicating for Fun Calendars for ideas on activities you can do to promote speech and language for:
Toddler Communication Calendars
Preschooler Communication Calendars
Kindergarten Communication Calendars
Video – Tips for Parents
For more ideas on how to help your child communicate, check the OAFCCD Video, The Power of Parents: Supporting Children with Speech and Language Impairments
Here’s Episode Three from our 14 part video series
Parents provide important information on their child’s development. Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) provide strategies to use at home to help stimulate speech and language development.
PROMOTING LITERACY AT HOME – Early Learners
More activities that will help your child develop early literacy skills and promote speech and language development.
- Activity 1 – Let Your Child Be the Leader
- Activity 2 – Point to Print and Talk About Print
- Activity 3 – Ask Children to Predict What Will Happen
- Activity 4 – Ask Questions About Print
- Activity 5 – Talk About the Alphabet and Letters
- Activity 6 – Talk About Rhyming Words
- Activity 7 – Ask Child What Happened in the Story
- Activity 8 – Have the Child fill in Words or “read” to You