tykeTALK: Did you know?

  • Speech and Language problems are the most common problems faced by Ontario children.
  • At least 1 in 10 toddlers will face a speech and/or language difficulty.
  • Parents are a child’s most important teacher and can make the biggest impact on their child’s speech and language development.  
  • No child is too young to have an assessment of his or her speech and language development.

Parents are with their children at times when they need to communicate. At tykeTALK, we involve parents in therapy, so they can follow through at home, with strategies used in therapy.  Research on child language development tells us, when parents provide a language rich environment and set up expectations for language use at home, the child will progress at a faster rate.

Some children may develop age appropriate speech, without help, but even professional speech-language pathologists can’t predict if a child will improve without therapy.  Therefore, when there are concerns regarding a child’s development, it is always better to have an assessment to determine if specific programming is indicated.

10 Most Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Are there things that I should be doing with my baby under 1 year to help him talk?

YES.  Babies, even before they’re born, recognize the sound of their mother’s voice.  Babies’ brains are wired to learn language, but they need parents to talk to them, so that they learn the words they need to communicate effectively.  Even before one year, babies will practice making sounds, and if their parents imitate their sounds, they will learn that taking turns with sounds is fun.  They also love to have their parents’ attention.

Parents’ lives are busy, so you can help your child learn to understand words in the first year by naming everything they look at or touch, during the daily routines of everyday life.  During bath time, you can talk about water and bath toys, using words like wet and dry, and just talking about your child’s interest.

By using an animated voice and saying words, you are helping your child develop language and see that communication can be fun. 

2. I can understand most of what my child says but the grandparents have trouble understanding him.  Is it just because they aren’t around him enough?

Depending upon your child’s age, people other than parents may not always understand him.  By age three, all people should understand what your child says, even those who have never met him.  

If you want more information on how your child should be communicating, click on the tykeTALK Communication Checklist.

If you have any concerns, it is always wise to have it checked out. You can call tykeTALK at 519-663-0273 or Toll Free: 1-877-818-TALK or make a referal request for one of our Intake Coordinators to call you.

3. Does my doctor have to refer my child?

NO.  tykeTALK does not require a doctor’s referral.  You can call yourself.  Because we know that good speech and language development are important for overall development and for success in school, we recommend that parents refer their child if they have any concerns.

Get started by making a referral request for one of our Intake Coordinators to call you or by calling 519-663-0273 or Toll Free: 1-877-818-TALK.

4. My older child didn’t receive speech therapy until he started school.  Is it important for me to have my younger child seen before she starts school, if her speech is delayed like her brother?

YES. We know that the earlier a child with a speech or language problem is seen, the better the chance that they will develop the skills they need to feel successful in school.  It is never too early for a child to be seen for a speech and language assessment and the assessment is fun for children.  To refer your child for an assessment, you can call tykeTALK at 519-663-0273 or Toll Free: 1-877-818-TALK or make a referral request for one of our Intake Coordinators to call you.

5. My third child doesn’t talk much.  He is two years old and I think his brother and sister do most of the talking for him.  What can I do to help?

Although many people think that it is common for younger children in a family to speak later than their older siblings, research shows that this is not the case.  Each child in a family has a different rate of growth and each child has a different family experience.  Older children may have had the benefit of more individual time with parents, but younger children benefit from time with both parents and siblings.  Encourage the older children to give the younger child a chance to communicate his needs. 

All children are expected to develop language within certain time frames.  To check your child’s development, compared to other children his age, click on the tykeTALK Communication Checklist.  If you have concerns, you can arrange for a speech and language assessment for your child by requesting a referral call back or you can call tykeTALK to refer your child to arrange for an assessment at 519-663-0273 or Toll Free: 1-877-818-TALK.

6. How much will it cost for an assessment and therapy?

There is no charge to families.  All services are funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and are offered at no charge to parents of children from birth to school-age.

7. Do speech and language problems run in families?

YES. Research has shown that it is not uncommon for more than one child in a family to have a delay in speech and language development.  It is also not uncommon for both parent and child to have experienced difficulties.  If you do have a family history of speech and language problems and feel that your child is not progressing at the same rate as other children the same age, you can arrange for an assessment by requesting a referral call back, or you can call tykeTALK to arrange for an assessment at 519-663-0273 or Toll Free: 1-877-818-TALK.

8. Will speaking two languages at home, delay my child’s speech and language development?

NO. Children’s brains can cope with more than one language and will often, in the long run have a greater vocabulary and language that is within the normal range for their age.

During the early stages of language development, children may mix the two languages when they communicate, but this is normal. If more than one language is spoken in the home, children should still be saying single words by 15 months in either one or both languages.

If you are concerned that your child is not communicating like other children the same age, you can check their development on the tykeTALK Communication Checklist. For more information on learning more than one language visit the Learning Multiple Languages page.

If you have concerns, you can arrange for an assessment by requesting a referral call back to request a call back or you can call 519-663-0273 or Toll Free: 1877-818-TALK.

9. My child appears to be repeating the first sound in words and some whole words.  She sounds like she is stuttering.  What can I do to help her?

Children between the ages of two and four, sometimes repeat words or phrases, as they are learning to talk, and to master the demands of communicating with others (e.g. “I, I, I, want milk”, or “I want, I want, I want milk.”). For most children this is a temporary stage and will only last a short time. To help your child get through this challenging time, you should offer support by not pressuring her to talk in unfamiliar or difficult situations. Give her the time she needs to say what she wants to say.  Ask fewer questions and don’t push her, if she doesn’t feel comfortable answering questions. 

DON’T ask her to repeat, or stop and think about what she is saying.  This only causes more stress and may make the repetitions occur more frequently.  If the repetitions last more than three months, get worse, the child is expressing difficulty in saying words, or is struggling to get words out, you should immediately contact tykeTALK as early as possible.  It is easier to help a young child with this problem, than to wait until they are older and have experienced challenges with stuttering.  Learn more about stuttering.

10. Where is tykeTALK located?  

We have sites across the Thames Valley region provided by our Service Provider Agencies. All of our Service Provider Agencies offer therapy at some community sites as well including child care centres or Ontario Early Years Centres.  These options are usually discussed during the assessment.


519.663.0273 1.877.818.TALK