When Should You See a Speech-Language Pathologist?

As Ontario continues to follow government and public health guidelines to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, you can be assured that Ontario’s regulated audiologists and speech-language pathologists are helping to keep you and your loved ones safe.  Expect continued service, with the option of virtual care (on-line vs. in-person appointments). Learn more, visit CASLPO's COVID-19 Information page.

When you can’t understand or speak clearly, it’s hard to be successful at school, work and even socializing or at play. Whether you have concerns about your child's communication or a family member’s recovery after an illness or a problem with your voice or accent, a speech-language pathologist in your community can help.

These highly trained professionals can assess, treat and provide information for a range of communication barriers, for example, if your child is slow to start talking, can’t pronounce certain sounds, stutters or has trouble understanding you. Speech-language pathologists can also help adults who have trouble speaking after a stroke, brain injury or other illness, as well as children and adults who have difficulty with eating and swallowing.

Do I Need to See a Speech-Language Pathologist?

There are a few self-evaluation questions you can ask yourself – about your own experiences or your child or an adult family member – to identify a potential speech or language problem. Here are some key questions:

For Children

For Adults

What to Expect During a Visit

Depending on what your concern is, you may be asked to fill out a questionnaire or write a list of the words your child can say. At your first appointment, the speech-language pathologist will ask lots of questions and do a thorough examination. They will discuss options and make recommendations. Sometimes, other health issues can be related to communication disorders. They work closely with other professionals, sometimes as part of a multidisciplinary team, in providing a coordinated program of care.

Where to Find a Qualified Professional

Speech-language pathologists work in a variety of health and educational settings, including your home, preschools, schools, community centres, hospitals, specialized out-patient clinics and long-term care facilities. You don’t need a referral from your family doctor to see one, but you will need a “physician’s order” if you or your family member is in a hospital.
As regulated health-care professionals, speech-language pathologists must be registered with the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario in order to practice. The College is here to protect the public interest and help ensure you receive ethical, quality care that follows standards.

You can visit the website to check to see if a speech-language pathologist is registered to practice in Ontario, file a complaint or find a speech-language pathologist near you.

Speech-language Pathology: an Overview

A speech-language pathologist is trained to assess, treat and provide information for the following communication problems:

Communication Disorders

These include speech, language, voice, fluency, hearing and cognitive-communicative disorders.

Here are some examples:

What Are Swallowing Problems?

Swallowing problems are called dysphagia. Dysphagia can include difficulties with chewing food, controlling liquids and drooling.  It can also include the swallowing of food and/or liquid. Speech-language pathologists assess, manage and treat the oral motor dysfunction underlying the swallowing problems and work with other members of the health care team to ensure all areas of the swallowing difficulty are addressed.


If you have concerns about your child's, a family member's or your own communication, or swallowing problems contact a speech-language pathologist in your community. CASLPO can help you to find a speech-language pathologist in your geographic area.

  1. Go to the Public Register of Members on CASLPO’s website
  2. Contact CASLPO Telephone: 416 975 5347 Toll Free: 800 993 9459


© 2023 CASLPO

© 2023 CASLPO

This website is intended to provide information to the public and registrants. Should there be difference in documentation previously distributed to CASLPO registrants, it is up to the registrant to source the latest version posted on the CASLPO website. Note: the term "member" and "registrant" are used interchangeably throughout CASLPO's website and documents. Both terms are synonymous with "member" as defined in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Act, 1991, and the Regulations under those Acts.