Preschool Speech & Language

What are speech and language delays/disorders?

Children may have a speech delay, in which they find it difficult to make speech sounds properly, and people have trouble understanding them when they speak.

Children may have a receptive or expressive language delay.

  • A receptive language delay refers to difficulties understanding or processing language.
  • An expressive language delay refers to difficulties putting words together in a sentence, limited vocabulary, or inability to use language in a socially appropriate way.

What are the typical assessment procedures?

Assessments are done by a speech-language pathologist (S-LP) at one of the 28 sites located across Nova Scotia. Assessments of very young children will be based on:

  • Checklists and rating scales given to parents
  • Play-based assessments between the S-LP and child

For an older child, the S-LP will combine information obtained from:

  • Parent and/or caregivers
  • Standardized tests
  • Informal checklists
  • Observations of the child
  • A hearing screening may also be conducted if required

Who can be referred?

Any child from early infancy (birth) up to the age at which they are eligible to start primary school can be referred.

Who can refer?

Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres has an open referral policy whereby parents/caregivers, daycare/preschool staff, doctors and related professionals with parental consent may refer a child for assessment.

Click here to download the NSHSC referral form.

How do I make a referral?

Referrals and questions may be directed to your local NSHSC site.