Speech-Language Pathology

The Montreal Children's Hospital Speech Pathology Department offers a wide array of services for children and adolescents who have speech and language difficulties. 

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Who we are

The Montreal Children's Hospital Speech-Language Pathology Department consists of a team of bilingual speech-language pathologists with various areas of expertise that offer a wide array of services for children and adolescents who have speech or language difficulties.

For more information on speech and language development and services, parents are invited to consult the following websites: www.ooaq.qc.ca (Ordre des orthophonistes et audiologistes du Québec), www.sac-oac.ca (Speech and Audiology Canada).

Our services

Your child will be seen by one of our qualified professionals for a diagnostic assessment in order to determine their speech and language profile, specify the nature of any speech and language difficulties that are present, and develop an individualized intervention plan best suited for your child’s needs. Once our evaluation is completed, we may offer services in our department such as diagnostic therapy or reorient children towards community services such as a rehabilitation center or their CLSC as pertinent. 

Furthermore, we offer specialized knowledge with respect to the speech-language assessment of Cree, Inuit and other First Nations. We are also proud to offer our leadership in the area of language assessment of bilingual or multilingual children and adolescents. We frequently work with interpreters for families who speak languages other than English and French.

The Montreal Children's Hospital Speech-Language Pathology Department offers pediatric services to children from 0 to 18 years old (depending on the particular clinic) for:

  • Cleft palate and Craniofacial differences: Assessment and intervention as necessary as part of Cleft and Craniofacial Team.
  • Resonance disorders and/or Velopharyngeal Dysfunction:  Assessment and intervention which are often part of specialized clinic.
  • Voice disorders: Assessment and intervention for various voice problems including nodules, vocal cord paralysis, and vocal cord dysfunction
  • Developmental language difficulties and disorders:  Assessment and intervention or referral for intervention services. See eligibility criteria.
  • Neonatology Clinic: Assessment and intervention or referral for intervention services.
  • Speech-language difficulties associated with an acute (e.i. traumatic brain injury) or a complex medical condition: Assessment and intervention, or referral for intervention services. See eligibility criteria.
  • Brain, Development and Behaviour Clinics: Multidisciplinary assessment of children presenting with neurodevelopmental delays. Click here for Eligibility Criteria for a referral


Note: Children 0-7 years old with suspected developmental delays including questions of Autism Spectrum Disorder who require assessment via a multidisciplinary team should be referred via the Brain, Development and Behaviour (BDB) Centralized Intake Office.

Stuttering/fluency: Our department does not see children who stutter. If stuttering has persisted for 6 months or more, please refer directly to your regional “Centre de réadaptation en déficience physique” (CRDP) or CIUSSS. Click here for general information and resources regarding stuttering.



Language is a skill that is innate in every human. No matter what environment a child is brought up in, they have the capability to learn a language, and in many cases, two languages before starting school. In Québec, many families have one parent who speaks French and one parent who speaks English.  Other families have one parent who speaks French or English and another parent who speaks a different language.  Even if English, French, or another language is the only language spoken at home, a child can be exposed to a second language depending on the neighborhood where the family lives, or the daycare that the child attends.
Some parents, caregivers, and even teachers might think that exposing a child to several languages at a young age can confuse them and delay their learning of another language. Dr. Fred Genesee, Professor of Psychology at McGill University, has completed research and compiled data on learning two languages from an early age.Click here to read more about conclusions and guidelines for parents based on current research.  

Learn more about bilingualism in our video, featuring Speech Language Pathologist, Caroline Erdos.

MCH pamphlets:

Useful links:

The speech-language pathologist from the Craniofacial and Cleft Surgery Team works with children who have a cleft palate as well their families.   We try to talk with the family and their young baby before cleft palate surgery occurs.  We share with them information about cleft palate and speech-language development as well as ideas about how to stimulate their baby’s early communication.  After the cleft palate surgery, we see the child and the family approximately six months later.  We can begin to see which speech sounds are developing and which ones may need a boost.  As well, we share ideas about how to stimulate early language development.  We continue to follow children up to the age of 18 as needed.  We can offer both assessments and intervention for their speech problems related to their repaired cleft palate.

The speech-language pathologist also works with children with craniofacial differences and their families.  These craniofacial differences can include hemifacial microsomia or Treacher Collin’s or various syndromes with related craniosynostosis.  In general, these children are referred when the Plastic Surgeon or another health professional or parent is concerned with the child’s speech-language development.

Useful Links:

See the section “Velopharyngeal Dysfunction and Resonance Disorders”.
As part of a pediatric tertiary care center, our speech-language pathologists are involved with referred inpatients that present with, or are at risk of, communication difficulties related to their reason of admission. These referrals are made internally by referring physicians. The speech-language pathologist evaluates the patient’s communication skills and intervenes as necessary during the hospitalization. Our clinicians are part of an interdisciplinary team who collaborate together to ensure patient-centered intervention.

Members of interdisciplinary teams may include, but are not limited to:

  • Specialized physicians
  • Nurses
  • Audiologists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Child Life Specialists
  • Social workers
  • Psychologists and∕or neuropsychologists


The prevalence of speech and language disorders has been estimated to be approximately 13% of children between the ages of 2 and 5 years, with a 2 to 1 male to female ratio.

Speech and language disorders can be found in isolation in a child, coexisting with another condition (example: attention deficit disorder), or as part of a broader condition (e.g. epilepsy, ASD, head injury, etc.)

MCH documents: Language stimulation videos for parents: This "Talking is Key" 12 minute DVD, developed by the Preschool Speech and Language Services program of the Calgary Health Region, with funding from the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, shows examples of children from 3 months to 5 years of age. Click your preferred language: English, Amharic, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Cree, Dinka, Farsi, French, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog
Reading to your child can help with both reading development as well as oral language development (i.e. vocabulary and grammar). It is part of a speech-language pathologist’s role to promote literacy and its importance. Our department is involved in the activities related to the Lire/Imagine/Read initiative.

Lire/Imagine/Read (LIR): The Montreal Children's Hospital is working in partnership with The Centre for Literacy via health care providers to promote literacy and engage families in reading. 

Useful links:



The Canadian Pediatric Society has made recommendations regarding screen time. Please view the following links for more information:

Other useful links:

A speech-language pathologist may be one the many professionals involved in the care of children having undergone a tracheostomy. These services may include, but are not limited to:
  • Language stimulation tips in infants and young children
  • In some cases, introduction to alternative modes of communication
  • In some cases, a speaking valve trial and related follow-ups
  • Language assessment and in some cases intervention
  • Collaboration with rehabilitation speech-language pathologists working with children who have a tracheostomy
A speech-language pathologist can evaluate and provide intervention for various voice problems including vocal fold nodules, vocal fold paralysis, and paradoxical vocal fold motion (also known as vocal cord dysfunction). In some circumstances, our team is also involved in a multidisciplinary voice clinic in collaboration with otolaryngologists (ENT).

Have you noticed that your child’s voice is sometimes hoarse, unclear, or weak? Does your child even “lose” his or her voice on occasion? This voice problem may be explained by the presence of vocal overuse or misuse, including the following:
  • Yelling
  • Talking loudly
  • Excessive talking without taking a break
  • Speaking when there is excessive background noise (e.g. talking over the noise of the television or the radio)
  • Clearing their throat regularly
  • Altering their voice or imitating sounds frequently when playing
  • Whispering
  • Singing in an abusive fashion (e.g. singing too loudly, too long, or altering voice excessively)
For suggestions that could help your child keep his or her voice in shape, click on the “Instructions for a healthy voice” link below.

For more specific recommendations and questions, talk to your child’s doctor, or speech-language pathologist to get expert advice.

MCH Handouts:

A speech-language pathologist can complete an assessment and intervention as needed for difficulties related to resonance and/or Velopharyngeal Dysfunction (VPD). VPD occurs when the soft palate and the muscles of the throat do not come together tightly and close as needed when speaking. When this happens, speech can sound hypernasal (the resonance is “too nasal”) and air can escape out of the nose at the wrong time when talking. VPD can also affect how children learn speech sounds. VPD can occur in children with repaired cleft palates, submucous cleft palate, and with various syndromes including 22q11,2 deletion syndrome. As well, it can happen after an adenoidectomy or in children who have weak throat and/or palate muscles.

Other types of resonance difficulties exist and include hyponasality (the resonance sounds like the nose is always stuffed up) or cul-de-sac (the resonance sounds muffled). These resonance problems can occur in children with large tonsils and/or adenoids or with craniofacial differences.

In many circumstances, the speech-language pathologist will work with the otorhinolaryngologist (ORL) as part of our specialized clinic called the “Velopharyngeal Dysfunction Clinic”.

How to Refer for an Assessment of Velopharyngeal Dysfunction or Resonance Disorder:
Department email to [email protected]

Useful Links :

Voir la section «Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Differences »
Velopharyngeal Dysfunction - Kidshealth.org
Contact us

1001 Boulevard Décarie, Room: A04.3140
Montréal, QC H4A 3J1


Department of Speech and Language
Telephone: 514-412-4491  Fax: 514-412-4296

Questions about an already scheduled appointment:

Room: A04.3140

Tel: 514-412-4491

Refer a patient 

Speech-Language Pathology is part of Brain Development & Behavior. New referrals must be processed via the Central Intake Service.

Please follow the instructions for referral on the Central Intake webpage and send it by: