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Should I refer my child?

Every child develops language at his or her own pace. However, it is possible to detect - from a very young age - "warning signs" of a possible speech and language delay.

How is my child doing?

This online screening includes developmental milestones that mark the progress of young children as they learn to communicate.

If your child's age is between the ages indicated, please click or tap on the younger age. For example, select "6 months" if your child is 8 months old.

  • 6 months

    Does your child:

    • Turn to the source of sounds?
    • Startle in response to sudden, loud noises?
    • Make different cries for different needs — I’m hungry, I’m tired?
    • Watch your face as you talk?
    • Smile and laugh in response to your smiles and laughs?
    • Imitate coughs or other sounds — ah, eh, buh?

    Did you answer "yes" to all of these questions?

  • 9 months

    Does your child:

    • Respond to his/her name?
    • Respond to the telephone ringing or a knock at the door?
    • Understand being told “no”?
    • Get what he/she wants through sounds and gestures?
    • Play social games with you e.g., peek-a-boo?
    • Enjoy being around people?
    • Babble and repeat sounds – babababa, duhduhduh?

    Did you answer "yes" to all of these questions?

  • 12 months

    Does your child:

    • Follow simple one-step directions – “sit down”?
    • Look across the room to something you point to?
    • Use three or more words?
    • Use gestures to communicate – waves “bye-bye”, shakes head “no”?
    • Get your attention using sounds, gestures and pointing while looking at your eyes?
    • Bring you toys to show you?
    • “Perform” for attention and praise?
    • Combine lots of sounds as though talking e.g., “abada baduh abee”?
    • Show interest in simple picture books?

    Did you answer "yes" to all of these questions?

  • 18 months

    Does your child:

    • Understand the concepts of “in and out”, “off and on”?
    • Point to several body parts when asked?
    • Use at least 20 words?
    • Respond with words or gestures to simple questions – “Where’s teddy?”, “What’s that?”
    • Demonstrate pretend play with toys – gives teddy a drink?
    • Make at least four different consonant sounds – b, n, d, g, w, h?
    • Enjoy being read to and looking at simple books with you?
    • Point to pictures using one finger?

    Did you answer "yes" to all of these questions?

  • 24 months

    Does your child:

    • Follow two-step directions – “Go find your teddy bear and show it to Grandma”?
    • Use 100 or more words?
    • Use at least two pronouns – “you”, “me”, “mine”?
    • Consistently combine two or more words in short phrases – “daddy hat”, “truck go down”?
    • Enjoy being with other children?
    • Offer toys to peers and imitate other children’s actions and words?
    • Speak in a way that people can understand his/her words 50 to 60 percent of the time?
    • Form words and sounds easily and effortlessly?
    • Hold books the right way up and turn pages?
    • “Read” to stuffed animals or toys?
    • Scribble with crayons?

    Did you answer "yes" to all of these questions?

  • 30 months

    Does your child:

    • Understand the concepts of size (big/little) and quantity (a little, a lot, more)?
    • Use some adult grammar – “two cookies”, “bird flying”, “I jumped”?
    • Use more than 350 words?
    • Use action words – run, spill, fall?”
    • Begin taking short turns with other children, using both toys and words?
    • Show concern when another child is hurt or sad?
    • Combine several actions in play – feeds doll then puts her to sleep; puts blocks in train then drives train and drops blocks off?
    • Put the sound at the start of most words?
    • Produce words with two or more syllables or beats – “ba-na-na”, “com-pu-ter”, “a-pple”?
    • Recognize familiar logos and signs – McDonalds golden arches, stop sign?
    • Remember and understand familiar stories?

    Did you answer "yes" to all of these questions?

  • 3 years

    Does your child:

    • Understand “who”, “what”, “where” and “why” questions?
    • Create long sentences, using 5 or more words?
    • Talk about past events – trip to grandparents’ house, day at childcare?
    • Tell simple stories?
    • Show affection for favourite playmates?
    • Engage in multi-step pretend play – cooking a meal, repairing a car?
    • Speak so that he/she is understood by most people outside of the family, most of the time?
    • Have an awareness of the function of print – in menus, lists, signs?
    • Have a beginning interest in, and awareness of, rhyming?

    Did you answer "yes" to all of these questions?

  • 4 years

    Does your child:

    • Use adult-type grammar?
    • Follow directions involving 3 or more steps – “Get some paper, draw a picture and then give it to me”?
    • Tell stories with a clear beginning, middle and end?
    • Talk to try to solve problems with adults and other children?
    • Demonstrate increasingly complex imaginative play?
    • Speak so that he/she is understood by strangers almost all of the time?
    • Make up simple rhymes – “cat-bat”?
    • Match some letters with their sounds – “letter T says ‘tuh’”?

    Did you answer "yes" to all of these questions?

  • 5 years

    Does your child:

    • Follow group directions – “all the boys get a toy”?
    • Understand directions involving “if…then” – “If you’re wearing runners, then line up for gym”?
    • Describe past, present and future events in detail?
    • Seek to please his/her friends?
    • Show increasing independence in friendships – may visit a neighbour by him/herself?
    • Use almost all of the sounds of their language with few or no errors?
    • Know all the letters of the alphabet?
    • Identify the sounds at the beginning of some words – “Pop starts with the ‘puh’ sound”?

    Did you answer "yes" to all of these questions?

  • 6 years or older

    If your child is 6 years or older, please call contact your child's school as he or she is not eligible to be seen by the Preschool Speech and Language Program.