First Words Services

First Words provides free services for families with children from birth to eligibility for Senior Kindergarten. The program partners with community workers, Early Childhood Educators and clinicians.

We’ve recently changed how we provide speech and language screening in Ottawa.  Check out our new Communication Checkup online screening tool!

This new screening tool takes about 15-30 minutes to complete.  It looks at different areas of your child development such as:

  • Speech and language
  • Fine and gross motor
  • Social communication
  • Social behaviour
  • and much more!

Get instant results and next steps to take to support your child’s development.  Click here to get started!

Direct referrals to First Words Intake at CHEO.

Families are encouraged to complete the Communication Checkup e-screening tool. By completing the tool, you can be sure that your child will be supported by the agency that best suits their needs. You can also choose to provide a copy of your child’s results to the agency to inform their assessment.

You can make a self-referral to First Words Intake Office at CHEO if:

  • You do not wish to complete the Communication Checkup and you suspect a speech and language delay
  • You suspect a speech and language delay and/or your child is not meeting the communication milestones.

Call 613-737-7600 ext. 2500 to request an Intake Package.

Please note:   Limited services for children born in 2012 may include a combination of services depending upon when the First Words Intake package is received.

Date the completed Intake package is received by
First Words

    Services offered
 Between October 16, 2016 and March 15, 2017 ·  A parent education webinar (coming soon!)

·  A full speech & language assessment

 Between  March 16 and August 31, 2017

·  Families can access our Communication Checkup e-screening tool and refer to our website for information and our Learning Tools section to access our free webinar for strategies to help their child build their speech and language at home.


Clinical Speech Language Pathology services. The First Words service delivery model includes these steps:

  1. Parents access our Communication Checkup e-screening tool  for their child or can self-refer to the First Words Intake Office located at CHEO.
  2. Parents must complete and return the First Words Intake package.
  3. Child will be assessed by a Speech Language Pathologist.
  4. Child and family access treatment and intervention.
  5. The Speech Language Pathologist will support the family with transition to school.

Community Outreach and Health Promotion. Public awareness, prevention and education activities are offered to parents, the community and health professionals in Ottawa. Check out strategies and resources.