About the Preschool Speech and Language Program

About 1 in 10 children need extra help developing speech and language skills. Without help, it may be harder for these children to listen, talk, read and play with others.

Preschool Speech and Language Program staff can teach you how to help your child develop their communications skills, giving them the best opportunity for healthy development. Speech and language therapy is provided by agencies across the province and includes parent training as well as direct therapy with the child when appropriate.

Early therapy can:

  • help your child to listen, talk learn and read
  • improve your child's readiness for school
  • improve your child's self-esteem and confidence
  • help your child to play with other children

The program provides services for children from birth until they start school.

Speech disorder

A child with a speech disorder has trouble producing sounds.

Language disorder

A child with a language disorder has difficulty understanding or putting words together to express ideas.

Get a fact sheet about the Preschool Speech and Language program.
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The guidelines for Preschool Speech and Language and Children's Rehabilitation Services outline expectations for service providers to improve service access, experiences and functional outcomes. The requirements include:

  • Implementing a tiered approach to service delivery that supports children to receive the right level of service at the right time.
  • Taking a child- and family-centred, strengths-based approach that supports the diverse and cultural needs of families.
  • Offering families seamless, streamlined and integrated pathways to service.

Find the right approach for your family

The speech-language pathologist's first step is to assess your child's speech and language abilities. The speech-language pathologist will support you and your child through at least one of these approaches:

  • parent education workshops
  • small group sessions
  • consultation
  • a home program

Sessions with professionals will involve you, family members and people in your child's life, so everyone can learn ways to help support your child's development during daily activities.


You can register for the program if you have concerns about your child's speech or language development.

Your child is eligible for this program from birth until they start school.


You do not need a referral from your doctor.

To register, contact a preschool speech and language program location near you.

Your family's role

Children learn best through relationships with the important people in their lives. As a parent, you are your child's best teacher because you know your child better than anyone else. Your child learns how to communicate by exploring, playing, pointing and talking using sounds, words and sentences. All of these activities are important for your child's growth and development.

You play an important role in helping your child develop these skills. Face-to-face interactions with your child that include talking, reading and playing will help your child develop communication skills. When it's time to start school, your child will use these skills to make friends, solve problems and learn how to read and write.

A family's lifestyle, customs and environment all come into play as children learn about their world, the people in their lives and how to communicate. This information will help program professionals set goals to support your child's language development.