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Your preschool child's speech and language development

Your preschool child is busy talking, exploring and playing. All of these activities are important for his or her growth and development - and for learning communication skills.

Your child will need well-developed communication skills when it's time to start going to school - to make friends, learn new things, and start learning to read and write. Communication skills are critical to your child's future success.

You play an important part in your child's ongoing communication development. Talking, listening and playing with your child will help to build the skills he or she needs to succeed in school and in life.

About one in 10 children needs help developing normal speech and language skills. Without help, it's a struggle to listen and talk, it's difficult to learn to read, and it's hard to play with other children.

Developmental milestones

These developmental milestones show some of the skills that mark children's progress as they learn to communicate. If your child is not meeting one or more of these milestones, please contact your local Preschool Speech and Language Program.

By age 3

By age 4

By age 5

Try some of these suggestions to help your child use words to solve problems, make choices, describe objects and events and share ideas.

Three-year-olds like it when you:

Four-year-olds like it when you:

Five-year-olds like it when you:

Ontario's Preschool Speech and Language Program

Ontario's Preschool Speech and Language Program provides services to children from birth to the time they start school. Assessment and a range of treatment services are provided to children and their families across the province in many different communities, as close to home as possible.

If you have concerns about your child's speech and language skills you can get help from the Preschool Speech and Language Program. Program staff can teach you how to help your child's communication skills develop, to give him or her the best opportunity for healthy development.

Ontario's Preschool Speech and Language Program provides its services at no cost to you, and does not require a doctor's referral.

For more information contact your local Preschool Speech and Language Program, or call the Government of Ontario INFOline number given below.

For more information, contact:

TTY 1-800-387-5559