Speech and language development is a very important part of intellectual, social and emotional development in children. Problems with communication development in preschool children are surprisingly common. One out of every ten preschool children experiences some type of speech and/or language delay.

The main goal of the Preschool Speech and Language Program is to ensure that every child in Toronto achieves their optimal communication potential. Children are eligible to receive all preschool speech and language program services from birth until they reach their junior kindergarten year.


Speech-Language Pathologists assess a child’s speech, language and overall communication development to identify any areas where a delay or disorder might be present.


If the assessment identifies a delay or disorder, the Speech-Language Pathologist will develop a treatment plan with goals that are specific to the child’s level of need. The actual type of service and the method of delivery are also determined by the child’s level of need and the family/caregiver’s practical requirements. This may include:

Parent/caregiver training

Workshops led by Preschool Speech and Language Program staff provide parents/caregivers with practical ways to help their children learn new skills.


Consultation services may be offered in community settings and/or by telephone to provide parents/caregivers with language stimulation strategies or suggestions that can be used in daily situations.

Home programming

Speech-Language Pathologists may develop a program that can be carried out by the family in the home, over several months.

Mediated therapy

Speech-Language Pathologists may train and supervise an individual to follow through with a treatment plan.

Direct therapy

Group or individual therapy sessions may be provided. Whenever possible, children are grouped with others who will benefit from a similar approach.


Some children may only require minimal intervention. The Preschool Speech and Language Program will follow the child’s progress to determine the need for further support.

Transition planning

With parental permission, the Preschool Speech and Language Program will share information about the child’s ongoing service needs with the School Board, prior to the child starting school.

Educational outreach

The Preschool Speech and Language Program provides a series of workshops and seminars designed to meet the needs of both parents and professionals seeking detailed information regarding speech and language development.

Getting Started with Communication

This series includes a comprehensive half-day workshop for professionals with emphasis on: speech and language milestones, red flags, referrals, home language preservation, second language acquisition, use of language stimulation strategies to support at-risk children in the home, childcare and resource center environments.

The series also provides an overview of similar subject material in an informal one-hour parent ‘coffee chat’ format. The workshops are currently free of charge and available upon request.

Determine If Your Patient Is Eligible

Eligibility criteria

  • live in City of Toronto (postal codes starting with “M” only)
  • are concerned about their child’s speech and/or language development and have not met their age appropriate milestones
  • have a child from birth up until August 31st* of the year they would normally begin attending junior kindergarten.
  • OHIP is not required.

For eligible patients

Please submit new referrals using our Online Referral Form.

Referrals are also accepted by phone or fax, using the New Client Intake Form .

If the child is attending school and needs a speech and language assessment, parents should speak to the child’s teacher or the school principal. They will then make a referral to the speech-language pathologist from the child’s school (TDSB or TCDSB) to see the child.