Talk by 2 and Beyond!

What you say and do helps a child communicate with you.

“Talk by 2 and Beyond!” is an early identification and prevention strategy based on recent pediatric studies. Early identification makes a difference, it is the key to a child’s best start in life and is crucial to their life success. At First Words, early identification of speech and language delays as well as promoting good language building strategies are important.

Act early!  You know your child best. You talk and listen to your child more than anyone else. If you think your child has any kind of speech or language problem, you can:

If you still have concerns:

  • Refer directly to the CHEO Access Team at (613) 737-2757

Know the signs! Use the First Words milestones to see how a child is doing.

We have a variety of materials available to help encourage speech and language development and identify the delay early. Help us spread the message because an early referral can mean a world of difference in a child’s life!

  • The best time to affect brain and behavioural growth is between the ages of 0 to 30 months. Early cognitive development is primarily driven by biology.
  • Children can be referred at any age. Whether they are 6 months or 24 months, children can be referred. Early referral and intervention before the age of 30 months result in better and faster outcomes for the child.
  • Children should communicate for the same reasons as adults do by age 1: By 12 months, infants should use communication to show, to label, to protest or refuse, to interact – just like adults do. But they will use the tools infants have: sounds, babbling, smiles, facial expressions, gestures, and some words.
  • Children must babble by 12 months: Children with limited sounds or who don’t babble (ex: bada) by 12 months continue to have fewer words at 18 months, 24 months and even, 36 months. Refer early!
  • Children at 24 months use 100-150 words and 2-4 words sentences: Research shows that 50% of children who do NOT show these milestones at 24 months have persistent delays at age 3.
  • Children’s speech and language continue to develop after their second birthday. Check out the milestones for children until age 5.


“Think E-I-E-I-O to communicate with your child”

Helping children learn to talk is as easy as E-I-E-I-O. These simple rules are a great way to get children on the right path to healthy speech and language development!

Explore together

  • Be face to face while you play, sing, read and talk.
  • Name and describe things you see and actions you do together.
  • Repeat words often: “shoe OFF, sock OFF, shirt OFF”.

Imitate and Interpret

  • Imitate: copy what your child says and does all day long, every day.
  • Interpret: when your child points, smiles, makes sounds or uses words, say what you think they mean.

Expand and Extend

  • Expand on what your child says by adding 1 or 2 words.  If they say “tat”, you say “Big cat. Cat is running.”
  • Extend with a new idea.  If they say “tat”, you say “The cat has claws to climb the tree.”

Include choices

  • Use simple questions instead of Yes or No questions:  “Do you want to wear the striped shirt or plain shirt?”

Observe, Wait and Follow your child’s lead

  • Take turns listening and talking.
  • Watch, wait and get interested in your child.
  • Let them take the lead when playing, reading and talking together.