Welcome to Kid Talk header with images of parents interacting with their children




Does my baby understand what I say to him?

Babies do not understand the meanings of words at first. Babies learn about sounds and words by hearing them repeated over and over. Use facial expression and tone of voice to help your baby connect words and meanings. Babies also learn about the back and forth of communication when you talk and then they babble back.  


How do I know if my child has a speech delay?

Use one of the checklists under speech skills or call your local public health unit. A public health nurse will ask you questions about your child's speech, offer suggestions to expand your child's speech and language skills, and refer to an appropriate agency if necessary. 


Should we wait for school to deal with speech and language problems?

No, the sooner your child receives help, the better he will do. It is important to get help right away. Your child will need lots of time to practice his skills so he is prepared for school.  Learn more ...

Is it common for a younger child in a larger family not to talk?

Sometimes older children will speak for a younger child. Parents should encourage their young child to talk and allow time for the child to think of the words he needs to use. Any child that is not meeting all of the speech and language milestones should be screened for a delay.  Call right away if you are concerned about your child's speech.      


Will my child grow out of it?

Some children may grow out of speech and language problems but it is best not to wait and see. The sooner a problem is discovered, the sooner something can be done, and the better the outcome for the child. A possible wait list could delay treatment so call now.       


Should I worry if my child stutters?

Many children repeat words and phrases when they are excited or tired. Usually this is only temporary as they learn language. Call for an assessment if this continues for more than 2-3 months.  


Does my child need a hearing test?

If you have concerns about your child's speech and language, you should have his hearing checked. Hearing problems can have a significant impact on your child’s speech and language development. Frequent ear infections can affect your child's hearing and lead to speech and language delays. Your doctor or nurse practitioner can make a referral or you can make an appointment yourself with an audiologist.  Learn more...

Is your child eligible for assessment through the Infant Hearing Program(IHP)?

Four Months and under

If your child is under four months of age and you suspect a hearing loss, your child is eligible for a hearing screening from your local infant hearing program.  If a REFER result is obtained, a referral to an Infant Hearing Program Audiologist will be made.

Four to 24 Months

If your child is between four and 24 months of age and your doctor states there is a risk factor for permanent hearing impairment such as meningitis or a head injury or there are concerns of a permanent hearing loss, your child is eligible for an audiology assessment by an IHP trained audiologist.

Two Years and over

If your child is over two years of age, a permanent childhood hearing impairment must have been identified by an audiologist.  Ask your audiologist to send the audiology assessment confirming a permanent childhood hearing impairment to the Tri-Regional Infant Hearing Program (fax: 905-472-7553) or contact the Service Provider in your area who will assist you in completing the referral.

Services provided by the Infant Hearing Program are publicly-funded so there is no charge to the parent(s)/caregiver(s).  If you live in York or Durham Regions, Peterborough, Northumberland or Haliburton Counties or the City of Kawartha Lakes, contact the Tri-Regional Infant Hearing Program at: 1-888-703-5437 and choose option #4 for the Infant Hearing Program.


When does my child need a vision test?


Your child’s eyes will be examined at every well-baby visit.  If you have concerns about your child’s vision, make an appointment with an eye care professional


Is there a cost for vision tests?


There is no cost to the parent for annual vision tests, done by an optometrist, for children under 20 years of age.  Learn more...


Does my child have to be able to read to have their vision tested?

No, eye examinations can be done at any age.


Are eye exams covered by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan)?

OHIP covers an eye exam every twelve months for children 19 years old and younger.


What are the signs that my child can’t see well?

According to the Ontario Association of Optometrists, there are often no signs that a child has a vision problem. For this reason regular eye exams are important. 


Do eye exams hurt?

No, an eye exam won’t hurt but the doctor may need to put drops in your child’s eye. These drops may sting but only for a few seconds.


Does my child mispronounce sounds because she is lazy?


No, your child does not intentionally pronounce sounds incorrectly. It could be a habit that has developed that may require the services of a speech language pathologist.


Will sign language interfere with my child trying to talk?


No. Sign language helps a child understand what a word means before they are physically able to say the word. Using sign language can help your child communicate his needs which can also decrease frustration for everyone.  


My child is struggling with English at school.  Should we stop speaking our first language and speak only English at home?


No. Learning more than one language/will help your child with his overall learning in school. Learn more...


Should children with a language delay be raised with only one language?

Every child's language development is different. This question should be discussed with your speech language pathologist to determine what is best for your child.


Do I need a doctor’s referral to have my child seen by Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Preschool Speech and Language Program?

No. Parents should call us  directly if you have questions about your child’s’ speech and language. In Peterborough call 705-743-1000. In Haliburton County, Northumberland County, and City of Kawartha Lakes call 1-866-888-4577.


Which organizations provide speech and language services?

Five Counties Children’s Centre has offices is Peterborough, Lindsay, Campbellford, Cobourg and Minden where speech and language services are provided for preschoolers. Speech language therapy helps children with communication problems including feeding, swallowing, articulation, language, voice and stuttering.  Services are available to children up to the age of six, with exceptions for some children with physical disabilities, who may receive services up to the age of 19. Some children may be seen at FCCC as they continue in grade one and above, under the expanded mandate (these details can be provided). The Community Care Access Centres and School Boards provide services when the children are in grade one and above. Northumberland Child Development Centre in Port Hope also provides preschool speech and language services.


What will happen after a referral is made to Five Counties Children Centre?

Children will be assessed by a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) and appropriate recommendations will be made with the parent. These may include a parent/child speech or language group, group therapy or individual therapy. These services are provided by SLP and/or Communicative Disorders Assistants (CDA)


Is there a cost for speech and language services?



Is there a wait list for speech and language services?



Does Five Counties Children’s Centre offer workshops for parents?

Yes, the following parent/child workshops are offered:

  • Early Language Development
  • Later Language Development
  • Speech Production (articulation, pronunciation)
  • More Than Words (a program developed by The Hanen Centre for parents/guardians and caregivers of children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and social communication difficulties)

Some of these occur while your child is on the waiting list for an assessment.


What kind of assessments do you provide?

Five Counties Children’s Centre provides assessments of feeding, swallowing, articulation, language, voice and stuttering. 


Where do these services take place?

Services take place at the Five Counties Children’s Centre or at school if the child attends an Early Learning Program at a designated school. Parents are asked to be present for the assessment.


Does the parent participate in the sessions?

Absolutely! Parents know their child best and we work with the parents to provide strategies for continued reinforcement of therapy goals.


How often will you see my child if therapy is required?

This will depend on the diagnosis, recommendations and the goals that the parent and speech language pathologist decide on together.


Are private speech therapy services available in this area?

Yes, you may pay for services yourself or you may have benefits through your work, that will cover the cost of a private Speech Language Pathologist. Call Five Counties Children’s Centre for a list of private therapists.