Speech-language pathology provides assessment, treatment, education and referrals for patients with various communication or swallowing disorders.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a cost for speech and language services for children (0-5 years)?
There is no charge.
What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?
It is important for children to have good communication skills. These skills help them learn and make friends. If preschoolers have problems speaking or learning to communicate, a SpeechLanguage Pathologist (SLP) can help.
The SLP is interested in your child’s speaking, listening, and thinking skills. The SLP can give your child a speech/language assessment. The assessment helps the SLP determine your child’s strengths and weaknesses. You can refer your child for an assessment at the Community Health Centre/Office in your neighbourhood.
The SLP will carefully study your child’s speech and language skills during the assessment. The SLP will use toys, books, and pictures to find out how your child does the following:
- Makes and pronounces sounds,
- understands words, sentences, questions, and directions,
- hears and listens,
- uses words to talk about ideas and feelings,
- uses grammar and sentences,
- moves his/her tongue and lips,
- uses his/her voice
The SLP is also interested in the structure of your child’s mouth and if your child stutters. Afterwards, you and the SLP will discuss the assessment and decide if your child needs to work with an SLP. If your child needs therapy, the SLP will inform you where it will take place, what time, how often, and how you can help. There is no charge for speech and language services for preschoolers. Call the SLP at your Community Health Centre/Office if you have any questions.
When should I bring my child to a Speech-Language Pathologist?
See a Speech-Language Pathologist if:
Understanding and using language
- Your 2-year-old is not talking.
- Your 3-year-old does not use 3-word sentences most of the time.
- Your 4-year-old only uses sentences that are four words long.
- Your child does not seem to understand what you or others say and cannot follow directions.
- Often has ear infections and learned to speak later than most other children.
- Only responds to people if your child can see them.
- Has an unusual voice (scratchy, raspy or nasal sounding).
Communicating with others
- Cannot or seems not to want to start conversations with parents, caregivers or friends.
- Is embarrassed and/or frustrated when talking.
- Hesitates or struggles when talking.
- Repeats words or sounds.
- Stretches out words.
- Stops and restarts when talking.
- Your 3 or 4-year-old is difficult to understand.
Speech and language information
Speech and language development red flags
Developmental checklist for hearing and speech
Help your preschooler’s language grow
Keep your first language
Strategies to encourage peer to peer interactions
Screen time and young child
Speaking in sentences
When to refer your preschooler to an SLP
Speech sound development chart
Starting to use words
The three year old asks
The two year old talks
Verbal reasoning: Making sense
Children aged 0 to 5
Early childhood speech and language services ensure children aged 0-5 years reach their full speech, language, and communication potential.
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) use a variety of activities to help children learn new speech and language skills. During the first appointment, the SLP will evaluate how well a child talks and listens. The SLP looks at pronunciation, how well the tongue and lips move, how children understand and use language, and if there are any voice, hearing, or stuttering problems.
In the therapy sessions, the SLP will:
- Show parents how to help children learn better ways to talk
- Play games and use books and toys as fun ways to help children learn
- Check children's progress in communication skills as they grow and develop
SLPs may go to childcare centres and community settings to support teachers and help children communicate better with friends.
Home and community care
This service provides screening, assessment, education and treatment of communication and swallowing disorders in adult and older adult clients in their homes.
Clients aged 19 and over must be assessed for eligibility by a health-care professional. Contact your community's home and community care access line to learn about accessing this service.
- If you have been hospitalized, a VCH Transition Team staff will handle referrals from the hospital to a community health centre near you.
- You can contact your community health centre directly if you are already receiving home care services and need additional help.