First Words Communication Checkup

By Macaroni Kid Ottawa October 9, 2023

About the First Words Communication Checkup

The First Words Communication Checkup is an online screening tool created for parents and legal guardians living in Ottawa and Renfrew County, Ontario.
In the first years of life, your child is building important skills to help them succeed at school and later in life. Our screening tool allows you to: 
  • Screen your child’s communication and global development.

  • Get instant results based on how you answer the questionnaire.
  • Get recommended next steps to support your child’s development. 
  • Complete your referral online to send your child’s results to the recommended service for their development.
  • This assessment tool screens for speech, language, social communication, fine and gross motor skills while providing instant results based on the answers you provide.
  • This tool is available for children aged 6 months up to eligibility for Senior Kindergarten (SK). The tool screens areas of development based on the child’s current age.

My Experience with the Checkup

Before doing the checkup, plan to set aside about 15-20 minutes to complete it. You have up to 30 minutes to complete it. Some of the questions are quick and straight forward to answer. Other questions you will have to reflect on your child's experiences and progress.

You do need to complete the checkup in one sitting and cannot save your answers and return to it.

The nice part is getting your results right away.



Next you will have to enter some basic information about your child - their birthday and first name. Also, there is an area to check off if your child was born prematurely which is vital for accurately assessing their speech and language levels. 


Complete the screening questions. They are all 'YES' or 'NO' questions. 

The questions are all very clear to understand and examples are given. I found that most of the questions are quick to answer such as 'points to pictures using one finger'. 

And even if you are unsure about a question, there is a question mark that you can click on for further explanation.


This is where you get your immediate results.

Possible results include:

  • a recommendation to come back at your child’s next milestone
  • a referral to First Words or the Children’s Treatment Centre (CTC) at CHEO to access an assessment for your child
  • a recommendation to see your child’s primary health care provider to talk about other areas of their development highlighted in your results

My favourite part is that I can sign up for a reminder of when I should come back for the next milestone checkup. Parents are BUSY and having a reminder sent to me is key. 

This is a very valuable tool created by trusted professionals to check in and see if your child is on track. It will help you see if they are on track or if they need some further assessment. If help is needed, early intervention is key.