Are you worried about a child’s speech and language development?

As an Early Childcare Educator or Home Care Provider, you are in a unique position to observe the child and advise their family of a potential speech and language issue. If you think that a child might be having trouble learning to communicate, it is very important to get them the help they need as early as possible.

Referrals are simple!

  • Check out our communications milestones for help with identifying whether the child may be having trouble.
  • Call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 / 613-PARENTS and speak to a Public Health Nurse to discuss any questions or concerns.
  • We strongly encourage families to complete the First Words Communication Checkup rather than request an assessment. However, direct referrals to the CHEO Access Team at (613) 737-2757 can be made by parents, health professionals and physicians.
  • For more information on where to refer a preschool child for Ottawa-based language related services, please visit our handy referral page.

Are you worried about a child’s speech and language development AND have concerns about their overall development (i.e. play, Social skills, motor skills)?

To determine where to refer a family, consult the Referral Guide for Children with Developmental Concerns – Ages 0-4 Years – for Ottawa Residents.  This document will provide insight on what agency can best support the child needs so that the family can be referred appropriately and ensure faster access to services.

Are you worried about a child’s hearing?

From birth to 3 months of age: Infants are screened at birth by the Eastern Infant Hearing Program (IHP) of Eastern Ontario. Parents or legal guardians of a child under 3 months of age who was not screened at birth can call 613-688-3979 ext. 3453/ toll free 1-866-432-7447 to book an appointment and have their infant screened at a local community clinic. The same goes for families of a baby (aged under 3 months) who received a screening test at birth and got a “refer” result.

Over 3 months of age:  If hearing concerns develop for an infant over 3 months of age, please see the child’s physician for follow up. Primary Care Providers with specific concerns will need to submit a referral using the Audiology Referral Form (PDF available at under AUDIOLOGY).