Communications Checkup Tool for Families

The Communications Checkup Tool is a resource for parents and caregivers in Waterloo Region and Wellington County who have concerns about their preschooler’s speech and language or development progress. The tool is available for children aged six months to Junior Kindergarten. It screens for areas of development based on a child’s current age, and includes: speech, language, fine and gross motor skills as well as social communication. 

The Communications Checkup Tool tracks screenings at the following age milestones: six months, nine months, one year, 18 months, two years, 30 months, 3 years, 42 months, and four years. It is intended to track a child’s progress in their first language (i.e., the language they understand and use the most during the day). The screening takes approximately 15-30 minutes to complete and must be done in one sitting. The tool works best when using a Chrome or Microsoft Edge browser. Privacy is protected, and families have the option to complete the screening anonymously.

Results are instant for families, following the completion of 40 online questions. Results provide parents and caregivers with answers to general questions as well as suggestions on next steps. Recommendations could include: another screening at a child’s next age milestone; a referral to Speech and Language Services at KidsAbility for an assessment; or a primary health care provider visit to discuss other development areas highlighted by the screening.


If you’re concerned about your child's speech, you can call KidsAbility to have your child assessed. A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) will be your partner in assessing your child’s communication skills, evaluating your child’s developmental needs, and planning the next steps with you in order to help your child’s speech and language grow.

We know parents and caregivers are experts on their child’s: daily routines and responses; relationships with others; feelings and attitudes; and, challenges and successes.

Parents and caregivers will share their knowledge and questions during the assessment. You may attend one or more appointments with the SLP, or with the SLP and other members of our multi-disciplinary team. You may be seen at a KidsAbility site, child care, or elsewhere in the community.

Preparing for an assessment can be helpful. As you interact with your baby or preschooler in everyday activities (e.g., mealtime, bath time, play), observe and record their communication. Try this at different times, on different days and with different partners.

How does your child get their message across?

  • gestures or actions
  • sounds and partial words
  • mispronounced words, phrases, or sentences 

How well does your child understand language?

  • names of things
  • following directions
  • repeating, pointing, or gesturing

How well do you understand your child’s communication?

  • sounds dropped
  • altered
  • substituted by other sounds

It may be helpful to let your child know that you will be with them in the assessment. Most assessments take up to one and a half hours so your child should be comfortable, fed, and toileted prior to starting. Reschedule the assessment if your child is sick.

Speech Language Pathologists are experts in communication development (e.g., speech, language, voice, fluency). The assessment approach an SLP takes depends on many factors including: the child’s age, needs, comfort, and attention. Most assessments include an interview, an evaluation through interaction and play, informal checklists, and standardized tests using engaging activities.