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How will I know if my child has a language delay?

A simple checklist developed by Toronto Public Health used to help parents, educators, childcare providers and others to identify possible language delays can be found at the Hanen Centre.

If you answered Yes to all the questions, your child’s speech and language development appear to be age-appropriate, but you know your child best: please contact us with any concerns you have or to request Information.

If you had one or more No responses your child may have a language delay. Please contact Speech Therapy Associates to discuss your child’s communication or request information.

What happens in Speech Therapy

After we assess your child we will know what types of speech and language skills that he or she needs to work on. Speech therapy includes training and exercises to improve your child’s communication.

We will work one-on-one with your child or in a small group. During therapy your child may do a variety of age-appropriate fun activities.

    • Language therapy: Sometimes language therapy looks like “just” play. But as the therapist plays with and talks to your child, she will model correct language and encourage your child to use specific vocabulary or sentence structures. With older children and adults, therapy may be more structured, learning and practicing communication skills more directly.


  • Articulation therapy: Articulation means the making of sounds. The therapist will do sound exercises with your child by making the correct sound or syllable of a word for the child to repeat. Your child is shown how to make the sound with his or her mouth and tongue. Your child may use a mirror to watch how the mouth and tongue move to make the correct sound. Once the child can say the sound correctly, they will learn to say it in syllables, words, sentences, and conversation.
How long will my child need speech-language therapy?

There is no standard length of time that a child should be in therapy. Each child is a unique individual with unique strengths and needs into therapy. Consequently, children are at different levels and progress at different rates. We will involve you in the therapy process every step along the way and encourage your questions.

What are some of the characteristics of a child who is at risk of stuttering?
  • Repeats parts of words, either sounds or syllables (“t-t-table”, “ta-ta-table”); prolongs a sound (“ssssun”); or breaks up words (“cow”&”boy”)
  • Often repeats part of the word at least 3 times (“ta-ta-ta-table”)
  • During repetitions, substitutes an “uh” vowel in the word (“tuh-tuh-tuh-table”)
  • According to recent clinical reports, may use a broken rhythm during repetitions (“b.b…..b..boy”)
  • Has 10 or more dysfluencies every 100 words
  • Opens the mouth to speak but no sound comes out or turns off the voice between sound repetitions

These are sometimes characteristic of normal speech development:

  • Often repeats whole words or phrases (“I-I-I want to go out and play”).
  • Repeats parts of a word only 1 or 2 times (“ta-table”)
  • During repetitions, uses the vowel sound normally found in the word (“ta-table”)
  • Has rhythmic repetitions (“b..b..boy”)
  • Has 9 or less dysfluencies every 100 words
  • Starts speech easily; keeps speech going even though they may repeat a phrase or word later in the sentence
As a parent, what can I do to promote speech-language development at home?
  • Talk about the world around you. For example, “I see an airplane.” Or “The airplane is flying”. Even though your child may not be able to use these words, he is beginning to pair the word with what they see.
  • Read to your child. Read simple, age-appropriate books with repetitive vocabulary, and read the same books over and over. Kids love to hear familiar stories and “read” along with you.
  • Sing songs with your child. Music encourages learning and it’s fun!
  • Imitate the sounds your child makes (i.e. babbling and cooing). Make it a game of imitating each other.
  • Get down on the floor to be at your child’s eye level. When you talk to your child, be face-to-face.
  • Label what your child is doing instead of asking lots of questions. (“You’re driving the truck.” Instead of, “What are you doing?”)
  • Give your child the words for what she wants.  If she points to something she wants, say, “Oh, you want a cookie.”
  • Play games like “peek-a-boo” and “patty-cake”.  These are great activities to promote language — they are repetitive so your child can anticipate what is going to happen next.
  • Accept some speech mistakes as your child learns to talk.
  • Respond to what your child says so your child knows you have been listening.
  • Have your child’s hearing tested if you find that you have to repeat a lot or have to talk loudly to get their attention.
  • Don’t push your child to learn to talk. Seek professional help from an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist if you are unsure about his/her speech development.

Overall, talk naturally to your child.

What is an Auditory Processing Disorder?

Kids with central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) often have normal hearing, but can’t process the information they hear in the same way as others. They may have difficulty separating a meaningful spoken message from non-essential background noise.

What are the characteristics of a Central Auditory Processing Disorder?

Symptoms of CAPD can range from mild to severe and children can have one or more symptoms. If you think there may be a problem with how your child processes what he or she hears, answer these questions:

  • Is your child easily distracted or unusually bothered by loud or sudden noises?
  • Are noisy environments upsetting to your child?
  • Does your child’s behavior and performance improve in quieter settings?
  • Does your child have difficulty following directions, whether simple or complicated ones?
  • Does your child have reading, spelling, writing, or other speech-language difficulties?
  • Is abstract information difficult for your child to comprehend?
  • Are verbal (word) math problems difficult for your child?
  • Is your child disorganized and forgetful?
  • Are conversations hard for your child to follow?

These may be signs of a central auditory processing disorder (CAPD). It’s an often-misunderstood problem because many of the behaviors noted above may also appear in other conditions such as learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and even depression. But kids with CAPD can have a coexisting disorder – the most commonly seen is ADHD. Although CAPD is often confused with ADHD, it is possible to have both.

When should I contact a speech therapist?

Don’t wait to get help for your child if you suspect a problem. You and your family members know more about your child than anyone.

Early identification and treatment of speech, and language disorders can prevent problems with behavior, learning, reading and social interactions.

Request Information

What is Articulation?

Articulation is a general term used to describe the muscle movements involved in producing speech. Children with articulation disorders have difficulty pronouncing speech sounds.

What is the difference between Receptive Language and Expressive Language?

Language is our system of giving meaning to the speech sounds: Receptive language is our ability to understand language and follow directions, and expressive language is our ability to express ourselves, either verbally, written, or by some other means.

What is Phonological Development?

Phonological development is the natural process of simplifying words while learning adult speech patterns.

What are Phonological Processing Disorders?

Phonological processing disorders are a group of language disorders that affect children’s ability to develop easily understood speech patterns. Most children can be understood by the time they are four years old.

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