As of April 1, 2022, Toronto Public Health Preschool Speech and Language, Blind-Low Vision and Infant Hearing programs have moved to Surrey Place. To make a referral or for more information, please contact Surrey Place at 416-925-5141. Learn more about this change.

Your child’s communication and social skills are important for building relationships, learning and maintaining overall health.


Communication refers to how a child expresses and understands language. It also includes how they play and interact with others, as well as their reading and writing skills.

Communication skills are an important part of your child’s development so that they can:

  • make requests
  • share ideas and comments
  • ask and answer questions
  • follow instructions
  • make friends
  • learn
  • read and write
  • participate in activities

There are many ways to communicate. Some languages are spoken (examples: English, French) and some languages are signed (examples: American Sign Language, Langue des signes québécoise). Communication can also include facial expressions, gestures, pictures and technology (examples: speech generating devices).

All communication skills develop from back-and-forth interactions between a parent/caregiver and child. There are many things you can do to help your child develop language.

If you are concerned about your child’s communication development, contact a registered speech and language pathologist for help.

Communication Development

Learn how your child develops speech and language skills.

Communication Checklist

Use this checklist to monitor your child's language development.

Speech & Language: Help Your Child Now

Learn how to help your child develop language and who to contact for help.

For more information about your child’s development or behaviour, call a Public Health Nurse at 416-338-7600 or eChat live.