Early speech and language skills help your child to tell others about their ideas and feelings. Difficulties in communicating can lead to frustration and social or behaviour problems.
Learning to communicate is the foundation for learning at school. Research has shown that early development of language is important for academic success, for understanding the teacher, learning to read, write and do math, and for developing relationships with teachers, peers, and others that come to be a part of the lives of our children.
If you have concerns regarding your child’s speech and language development, see Getting An Appointment With a Speech Language Pathologist for information on referring your child for services.
Like learning to walk, children learn to talk at different rates.
See Watch Your Child’s Speech & Language Grow for information on speech & language milestones and to learn more about whether to be concerned about your child’s speech and language development.
See What Parents and Caregivers Can Do to Help for some ideas on how to help young children learn to communicate.
One in ten children in Ontario will need help developing their speech and language skills to get ready for school.
To speak with someone or to make a referral to the Hamilton Preschool Speech and Language Service, see Getting An Appointment With a Speech Language Pathologist for information on referring your child for services.
If you require information on making a referral to one of the 32 provincially-funded Preschool Speech and Language Services in Ontario, see the province’s Preschool Speech and Language Locations.
It is never too early to get help. A doctor’s referral is not required but, with parent/legal guardian consent, your doctor can be kept informed of your child’s speech and language development.
Firstly, a Speech Language Pathologist 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 with some pictures or toys.
Once the Speech Language Pathologist has had a chance to get to know your child’s speech and language abilities, they will talk with you about the kind of service that will best meet your child’s needs. The Speech Language Pathologist will discuss how you can help your child’s speech and language development in everyday activities at home and in your community.
A parent education program may be recommended. It may be recommended that your child come for therapy.
Preschool speech and language services and those offered by your School Board are coordinated to make the shift from preschool to school based services as easy as possible.
Your Speech Language Pathologist will speak with you about how that can happen best in your child’s situation.