Illustration of children

The Communication Checkup is an online screening tool created for parents and legal guardians living in Ottawa, Ontario. The tool can also be used by Educators in the community to screen children in their care.

  • Available for children aged 6 months to eligibility for Senior Kindergarten (SK).
  • Screens areas of development based on the child’s current age.
  • Screens for speech, language, social communication, fine and gross motor skills.
  • Instant results based on the answers you provide.
  • Suggested next steps to support your child’s development.

Screenings are available for 6mos, 9mos, 12mos, 18mos, 24mos, 30mos, 36mos, 42mos and 48mos. If your child has not reached the next milestone age listed, you will complete the screening for the younger age.

Is your child in Senior Kindergarten (SK)?  Speak with their teacher, principal and/ or primary health care provider about your concerns.

Note: Privacy Timeout

The screening should take approximately 15-30 minutes to complete. You must complete the screening in one sitting. To protect your privacy, the Communication Checkup will close after 30 minutes. When five (5) minutes remain, the system will give you the option to add more time, if needed.

If the program closes, your information will be lost and you will need to start over.

Securing Your Privacy

Your privacy is important to us. Your secure session will begin after you agree to our terms and conditions.

Note: Apple Product Users (iPhoneTM, iPadTM, MacBookTM)

Our screening tool works best when using a Chrome or Internet Explorer browser.  If the tool is not working well, close the screening and use one of the browsers listed.

Completing the Communication Checkup screening

When completing the screening, think about how your child communicates in their first language. This is the language they understand and use most during their day.

Please note:

  • Complete ONE screening for each child.
  • All questions must be answered with a YES or NO.
  •  If you are not sure how to answer a question, choose the answer that best describes how your child is doing today with the skill.  Have you seen this skill more than once?
  • Answer the questions as best as you can.


The results are calculated based on the answers that you have given us.

Possible results include:

  • a recommendation to come back at your child’s next milestone
  • a referral to First Words or the Children’s Treatment Centre (CTC) at CHEO to access an assessment for your child
  • a recommendation to see your child’s primary health care provider to talk about other areas of their development highlighted in your results

On your results page, you will receive detailed instructions on what to do next. Save, print or email your results.

If you fail to save, print or email your results, they will be lost. Your results are not stored and you cannot access them at a later time.

Accessing First Words Services

To receive services from our program, you must complete an Intake Package and send it by mail to the Intake Office located at CHEO. Your child’s name will be placed on the waiting list for an assessment when our Intake office has received this package.

To access an Intake Package:

  1. Complete the Communication Checkup.  When your results recommend a speech and language assessment, you can choose to provide us with your personal information (optional) and your email address.  We will send you an Intake Package by email.
  2. Call our Intake Office at 613-737-7600 ext.2500 to request a copy.

Your privacy is important to us. Privacy laws are in place to protect your personal health information. We cannot guarantee the safety of personal information sent over email. For this reason, we can only accept completed intake packages in-person or sent by mail.

Children currently in Junior Kindergarten (JK)

Children in JK may receive limited services from First Words.  This is due to wait times for speech and language assessments.

If the results recommend a speech and language assessment, you will have need to print, complete and mail an Intake Package to our Intake Office by March 1st of your child’s Junior Kindergarten year. After this date, we cannot provide any services to your child.  Please contact your school for support.

Disclosure statement

Permission was granted to the First Words Program to use and adapt the E.R.I.K. screening for the purposes of creating the Communication Checkup screening tool.

This questionnaire also sources red flags listed in the Eligibility Guidelines for Developmental and Rehabilitation Services for Children under 4 Years, developed in partnership with CHEO, FW, and OCTC.


© First Words – a program of PQCHC, 2019