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ASCY is the lead agency for the Early Words Preschool Speech and Language Program. The Early Words (EW) Preschool Speech and Language Program is an integrated partnership between ASCY and Hamilton Health Sciences – Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre (HHS-RJCHC).

Children with speech and language only needs are seen at Early Words.

Safety Protocols Notice for Families


If you would like to refer your child to Early Words, call 905-381-2828 ext 224 or fax to 905-385-2778 or to access the online referral, click here.

Children with additional rehabilitation needs, including behavioural, developmental, or those with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of autism, cerebral palsy or other diagnosis are seen at RJCHC. Please contact 905-521-7950. Additional information on services and a copy of their referral form can be found on their website.

Typical Speech and Language Development 
For information on skills that mark a child’s progress as they learn to communicate, click on the age group below:

Birth-30 months

3-5 years of age


Assessment and intervention is also available in French.

Early Words offers assessment and intervention as required, for each referred child and their family.

  • Assessments are held with a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), who will meet with you and your child. The SLP has to understand your child’s speech and language skills. To do this, she/he will ask you questions, watch how your child communicates with you and may play with your child themselves to see how they respond. In some cases, they may test your child using some pictures or toys. Once the SLP has had a chance to get to know your child’s speech and language abilities, they will talk with you about next steps and possible intervention services. The SLP will discuss how you can help your child’s speech and language development in everyday activities at home and in your community.
  • The SLP may suggest Intervention options that include Parent Programs, group or individual child services, or community-based services.
  • The SLP may suggest additional referrals to support your child. These may include:  RJCHC, Contact Hamilton, a hearing assessment or other community resources.

Public Education to Support You and Your Child

  • Ask A Professional Drop-In – Drop-ins are scheduled once monthly at EarlyON Centres throughout Hamilton. There is a Speech-Language Pathologist and an Early Childhood Resource Consultant available to answer questions you may have about communication and other areas of development. For more information, including dates and locations click here.
  • Public Education –  Early Words distributes educational resources to the community and is available to provide presentations and workshops.


  • Children are discharged from Early Words when they have reached age-appropriate skills, transitioned to school, moved to another community or at the family’s request.
  • Preschool Speech and Language services and those offered by your School Board are coordinated to make the transition from preschool to school-based services as easy as possible. Your SLP will speak with you about how that can happen best in your child’s situation. 

Funded by the Government of Ontario.