First Words Communication Checkup Part II

By Macaroni Kid Ottawa May 15, 2024

In October, I published an article about my experience completing the First Words Communication Checkup. It's an incredibly useful and user-friendly tool to see if your child is on track with their speech and language development. It's free to use, you get results instantly, and if there are any areas to reinforce, you are pointed in the right direction of where to go and who to call for help. The results can 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

I received my email reminder right on time to complete the follow-up checklist as my son turned 2! I LOVE the email reminders to complete the next questionnaire because we all get busy and forget. 

The tool is available in English and French for the following ages:

6 months                                      

9 months

12 months (1 year)

18 months

24 months (2 years) *This is the one I just completed. 

30 months

36 months (3 years)

42 months

48 months (4 years)

The questions are YES or NO and you answer them to the best of your ability. If your child speaks more than one language, you complete the questions reflecting on how your child interacts in their first language. Here's an example of some of the questions.


If at the end of the questionnaire, your child needs a speech and language assessment, you can do the referral right away. These will be your choices:

To refer your child for a speech and language assessment, give more information online by choosing "I want to refer my child" below, then hitting "Next". The referral will take about 10 minutes to complete. A copy of your child’s First Words Communication Checkup results and your personal information will be sent to the Access Team at CHEO through secured fax.

If you do not want to complete a referral at this time, please select "I don't want to refer my child" below, then proceed to the next page to view, print, and save your child's results. You will need a copy of the results to complete the referral over the phone at a later date.

The questionnaire and First Words is an important resource to use as parents in the Ottawa and surrounding areas. We have experts all around us that we can learn from and lean on when we are learning how to best support our tiny humans :)

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.