Watching young children grow and explore the world with curiosity and excitement is a wonderful experience. But what if your child has difficulties communicating and interacting with children and adults early on? What can you do? There are many things you can do to help your child, but it’s hard to know exactly what to do when you don’t know why your child is struggling. And if you wait to take action, difficulties can grow much bigger over time. Science says that early intervention is better than later intervention, but figuring out the right treatment for your child’s difficulties is really important too. Our Comprehensive Early Language and Social Development Assessment is designed for children 12 months through 5 years of age and is offered by a team of experts who understand the difference that early treatment can make!

Here are questions we hear often about our Comprehensive Early Language and Social Development Assessment, along with our answers.

It takes time for words to develop. So very young children can’t tell you what’s wrong, and older children can’t describe what is frustrating for them either if their language is delayed. A team of experts will help you find answers when your child is struggling to communicate and interact. Once you have answers, you’ll be able to start treatment early—and that’s especially critical when it comes to language and communication.

If you’re worried about your young child’s language, or how your child relates to others, it can be tempting to think, let’s just wait and see what happens. Friends and family might tell you, “Don’t worry. He’ll grow out of it,” or “She’ll be talking in no time!” But a wait-and-see approach can be harmful, creating even more challenges later on. Sure, development happens at different rates in different children; that fact is true. But waiting when you have worries—or when you sense something is wrong—could make difficulties even harder to treat. Brain research shows that there are windows of time in early childhood—called critical periods—when the brain is most ready to learn language. But as time goes by, those windows of opportunity start to close, making it much harder for your child to learn to speak and to understand words and sentences. So it’s really important to start treatments early if there are problems communicating, before the brain’s windows of opportunity for learning language most effectively start closing. Starting treatment early, before delays get too big and critical windows close, is one of the most important things you can do to help your child. Experts who can figure out what’s going on, and who can suggest the right treatments at the right time, can help make meaningful change happen for your child.

Children with difficulties early in development struggle in many ways. Frustrations with talking, or not talking, can result in challenges managing emotions and behaviours. And by the time school starts, young children with language difficulties are more likely to struggle with subjects like reading and writing, and with communicating and playing with peers, compared to students without these challenges. With the Comprehensive Early Language and Social Development Assessment Team, you’ll be connected with experts in communication, emotions, behaviours, and social skills, early in your child’s development. Their findings and treatment suggestions can help your child make important gains, and every gain becomes a stepping stone for the next success!
The Assessment Team at Possibilities includes a group of professionals, all with expertise in early child development. Our experts include a psychiatrist examining medical and developmental history and assessing early social skills development, a psychologist examining whether anxiety and concerns like selective mutism are contributing to your child’s challenges, and a speech-language pathologist assessing language development and communication skills.

Experts on our Assessment Team will speak with you, and assess your child directly, to explore strengths and why difficulties are happening from multiple perspectives. The psychiatrist, as a medical doctor, can help figure out whether health, genetic, or developmental issues might be contributing to your child’s current difficulties. The psychiatrist also specializes in mental health and cognitive abilities, like processing social cues and paying attention, which can offer important clues about your child’s challenges.

The psychologist on the team understands how young children show their feelings—like frustration, anger and anxiety—with and without words. This kind of knowledge can be really helpful when problem solving about communication skills and how to help your child feel less stressed and more connected with peers.

The speech-language pathologist specializes in language development and understands how children use and understand words, sentences, and social communication skills across different ages. Expert knowledge in language means the speech-language pathologist will offer you specific suggestions to help support your child’s developing communication skills.

The Assessment Team will recommend treatments based on the type of challenges your child is experiencing. Clinicians at Possibilities offer a range of treatments to young children with language and communication difficulties. If your child is struggling with selective mutism, working with a psychologist or speech-language pathologist will be recommended. For other children, working with a speech-language pathologist and communication disorders assistant might be recommended. In some cases, medication treatment may help to improve attention and language processing.

No. Experts on the team recognize that, for some children, autism might explain why there are delays in language and social development. This assessment screens for the possibility of autism, but autism cannot be diagnosed from the tests and questionnaires we use for the Comprehensive Early Language and Social Development Assessment. A different set of tests and questionnaires—exploring in depth whether your child’s difficulties meet an extensive list of symptoms consistent with an autism diagnosis—is required. More information about our Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnostic Assessment for children and adolescents 18 months to 17 years can be found on our website.
This assessment is thorough, with many experts on the Assessment Team collecting lots of information! There are 6 appointments all together—and each appointment is one hour—for a total of 6 hours over different days. There are 3 sessions with the psychiatrist, 1 session with the psychologist, and 2 sessions with the speech and language pathologist. At the end of the 6 sessions, you will receive a written report outlining the findings and the team’s recommendations. You’ll learn more about the order of the sessions, and what sessions are for interviews, testing/observations, and discussing recommendations, when you book a Comprehensive Early Language and Social Development Assessment for your child.
At Possibilities, we offer assessments through secure video sessions. On the first assessment appointment with you and your child, the psychiatrist will determine if all the appointments for the Comprehensive Early Language and Social Development Assessment can be done over video, or whether a combination of video and in-person sessions will be needed.

The psychiatrist on the assessment team is a medical doctor, so the fees for your 3 appointments with the psychiatrist are covered by OHIP. The fees for assessment and consultation sessions with the speech-language pathologist and psychologist, and the cost of questionnaires and testing materials, are not covered by OHIP. Fees for non-medical health services like psychology and speech-language pathology may be covered by private insurance plans. The cost for the Comprehensive Early Language and Social Development Assessment is $1750.

Please fill out our Child and Adolescent Intake Form for children and teens. Once we have this form and the physician referral, our Team will call you to set up an appointment.

For any questions, email us at or call 1-833-482-5558.

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