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Communicative Disorders Assistant

Kingston Campus | Program Code: 1005
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Overview

This program prepares students to work in a supporting capacity with registered Speech-Language Pathologists or Audiologists in a variety of service settings and populations.

Upon graduation, students will:

  • Have a thorough understanding of normal and abnormal functioning of all aspects of human communication.
  • Have a basic introduction to Applied Behaviour Analysis and its relevance in the field of communication disorders.
  • Be able to apply a range of intervention approaches for communication disorders in both adult and pediatric populations.
  • Work effectively in an assistive capacity with speech-language pathologists and audiologists, implementing recommended intervention programs.
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively with professionals in related disciplines.
  • Be eligible for membership with the Communicative Disorders Assistants Association of Canada (CDAAC).

Program Details

Code 1005
Start Date September
Credential Ontario College Graduate Certificate
Campus Kingston
Program Length 1 Year
Delivery Full-Time
Program length 1 year (3 semesters)

Program Highlights

In order to prepare students for their careers in the field of communication disorders, the CDA program is focused on preparing our graduates to develop their clinical and professional skills. The CDA program provides:

  • hands-on, real-world learning experiences
  • practical content delivered by practicing clinicians in the fields of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
  • dynamic and engaging teaching style
  • theoretical background in anatomical and physiological aspects of speech, language and hearing disorders as it relates to day-to-day work of a CDA
  • two full-time field placements (490 hours)
  • opportunities for developing teamwork, collaboration, organization and communication skills

Many of our graduates find work as a CDA in a range of agencies. Some of our graduates continue their studies at the college or university level in the field of Speech-Language Pathology or related fields (e.g. Education, Applied Behaviour Analysis, Occupational Therapy, Counselling, Hearing Instrument Specialist).

Learn more about the Communicative Disorders Assistant program by reading the answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Check out the opportunities for students to be involved with the Centre for Behavioural Studies.

Program Outline

2020-2021

This course is designed to provide students with clinical skills and theoreticalbackground pertaining to treatment methodology in the areas of articulation,phonology and oral-motor function. Normal development, screening/assessment,and the intervention process will be discussed. Students will be exposed to asampling of assessment reports, tools, intervention activities, as well as strategiesreflective of various treatment approaches. The role of the CommunicativeDisorders Assistant in implementing program recommendations will beemphasized throughout the course.
This course will provide an introduction to normal and atypical language development in children. Normal development of language from birth to school age will be reviewed. Atypical language development will be explored along with the impact of a language disorder on the child and family. Students will practice administration of language screening tools. An overview of a range of language intervention approaches will be presented.

This course will provide an introduction to the anatomy and physiology of the speech and swallowing mechanism. Normal and abnormal structures and processes pertaining to the speech and swallowing mechanism will be reviewed along with relevant terminology.

The fundamentals of sound, the human auditory mechanism and associated pathologies and syndromes will be examined. Basic audiological measures will be practiced to prepare the Communicative Disorders Assistant for the work environment. Test measures and topics specific to pediatric, adult, non-compliant and special-needs populations will also be explored.

The focus of CDAP 120 is to teach students the principles of speech and language intervention in a wide range of clinical populations. Students will have the opportunity to develop observation skills and practical skills related to lesson planning, data collection, eliciting and maintaining target behaviours and report writing. An overview of a range of disabilities a CDA may encounter when working with individuals with special needs will be presented with an emphasis on practical application of intervention principles.

The goal of this course is to provide students with an introduction to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems. The role of the Communicative Disorders Assistant in implementing program recommendations will be emphasized throughout. The students will be taught practical skills required to provide support to AAC users, both in pediatric and adult populations. Students will be exposed to a range of AAC systems, intervention activities and strategies reflective of various treatment approaches. The focus of this introductory course will be on AAC systems that involve no or low technology.

The focus of PROF 100 is to introduce students to guidelines and legislation governing Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs), Audiologists (AUDs) and Communicative Disorders Assistants (CDAs). Students will examine the scopes of practice of CDAs, SLPs, and AUDs, and will review key documents on the use of supportive personnel. Pertinent professional associations, namely CASLPO, SAC, OSLA, and CDAAC, will be discussed. This course will also prepare students for field placement.

The focus of this course is on acquired neurogenic language disorders.  After a brief survey of the basic neuroanatomy involved in normal language function, students will explore the range of changes that can occur in normal aging processes.  The primary focus of the course will be on the profile of language disorders that occur after stroke and traumatic brain injury.  Students will become familiar with language and cognitive-communication assessment tools, and will be able to describe and apply the principles of various intervention approaches through video analyses, hands-on practice and role-play demonstrations. The psychosocial impact of language impairment and its effect on the client, his/her family and community will be explored.

This course will allow students to apply the knowledge and skills gained in first semester. Students will complete practical hours working in a variety of clinical settings under the supervision of Speech-Language Pathologists or Audiologists, and/or Communicative Disorder Assistants.

Prerequisite(s): CDAP100 + CDAP110 + CDAP120 + CDAP102 + CDAP130 + CDAP100 + PROF100 + REHA100

This course will allow students to apply the knowledge and skills gained in first semester and build on the practical skills learned in INTN 100. Students will complete practical hours working in a variety of clinical settings under the supervision of Speech-Language Pathologists or Audiologists, and/or Communicative Disorder Assistants.

Prerequisite(s): INTN100

CDAP 301 is a continuation of CDAP 101 and is focused on language intervention in the preschool population. Language intervention approaches will be examined in detail including intervention for children that require special considerations (e.g. Autism spectrum disorders, hearing impairment, problem behaviour). The role of the Communicative Disorders Assistant will be emphasized throughout.

Prerequisite(s): CDAP101

This course builds on the information learned in the introductory Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) course. In this course students continue to explore AAC systems and their use for individuals with a variety of physical, perceptual, motor and cognitive disabilities, across different age groups. Students will be introduced to a range of high tech systems and specialized assistive technology. Literacy development in AAC will be examined. The role of the CDA in implementing program recommendations will be a focus throughout this course.

Prerequisite(s): CDAP130

This course provides a practical approach to the study of fluency and voice disorders. The first half of the course is dedicated voice disorders, and their treatment, in both child and adult populations. A practical approach will be highlighted through the use of voice samples and listening exercises. In the second half of the course, students will learn the nature and treatment of stuttering in children and adults. Treatment approaches for various populations will be highlighted, as well as how emotional and psychosocial factors play in the lives of people who stutter.

Prerequisite(s): CDAP100 + CDAP102 + CDAP120

This course will review basic considerations of hearing instrument candidacy, earmolds, and the various amplification options available. Basic explanation of what a prescriptive formula is, and how hearing instruments are verified and validated will be discussed. Advanced (digital signal processing) features of hearing instruments will also be discussed. Care and maintenance procedures and troubleshooting of various issues will be explained and practiced. The impact of hearing impairment on quality of life, effective communication strategies, and special considerations will be reflected upon as well.

Prerequisite(s): CDAP110

Building on the information provided in PROF 100, this course covers a broad range of topics relevant to the clinical practice of the Communicative Disorders Assistant. Ethical issues, current trends, service delivery models and barriers to service delivery will be examined. Students will examine specific issues encountered during field placements. Professional communication skills, including presentation and interpersonal communication skills, as well as interview and resume writing skills, will be explored.

Prerequisite(s): INTN100 + INTN200 + PROF100

This course is a continuation of REHA 100. A thorough examination of the supportive strategies for people with dementia will round out the “language” portion of the course. The remainder of the course will be devoted to acquired motor speech impairments. The causes, clinical courses and treatment methods associated with dysarthria and apraxia of speech will be explored. Students will hone in on their observational skills in working with adults with acquired motor speech disorders in a collaborative learning setting. Principles of adult motor learning will be emphasized.

Prerequisite(s): CDAP120 + REHA100+ CDAP100 + CDAP 102

Requirements

Admission Requirements

Minimum of a two-year post-secondary diploma or degree, with a specialty in health, community services or social services including Psychology, Linguistics or related disciplines.

Please note: For applications to the CDA program, there is no requirement to submit a letter of intent, references or curriculum vitae.

Health Requirements

Immunization - Communicable Disease Requirements

Completion of the Immunization - Communicable Disease Form is a mandatory condition for your clinical/practical placement. THIS FORM IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

Download the Immunization - Communicable Disease Form

Questions about completing this form can be sent to immunizations@sl.on.ca.

Note: Full-time student coverage for vaccines received on or after September 1 can be claimed under the Student Sickness & Accident Insurance Plan.

Other Requirements

Criminal Background Check: Applicants are advised that Criminal Background Checks (CBC) conducted by the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) are required for programs with field or clinical placements. Certain criminal convictions may prevent participation in placements and program completion may not be possible. Attaining and paying for a CBC and Vulnerable Sector Screening (OPP) is the responsibility of the student, and these may have to be renewed every three to six months. Applicants with criminal records are advised to contact the Associate Dean/Campus Dean of the respective school prior to applying. Please note: The CDA program requirement is that CBC is submitted by semester start up due to off campus assignments in September and October in local area schools. 

Many of our students complete the required first aid and CPR courses as well as criminal reference check just prior to the fall semester in July or August. The CDA program is work-intensive and many of our students find it helpful to have these additional requirements completed prior to the semester starting.

Students and graduates are eligible for student/full membership with the Communicative Disorders Assistant Association of Canada (CDAAC) and with Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC).

Fees

2020-2021

Tuition
Program Fees
Ancillary Fees
Total
CAD
Tuition
$3,187.98 CAD
Program Fees
$0.00 CAD
Ancillary Fees
$1,360.92 CAD
Total
$4,548.90 CAD

Fees are estimates only. Tuition is based on two semesters.

Kingston

Our Kingston campus has seen significant renovation over the past few years, including a brand new Student Life and Innovation Centre that houses a new gymnasium, fitness centre, pub, and more.

New Gym
Kingston Campus Exterior
Kingston Campus

Career Opportunities

Graduates from this program may find work assisting speech-language pathologists or audiologists in a variety of agencies serving clients/patients with communicative disorders. Hospitals, preschool speech and language programs, children's rehabilitation centers, stroke and brain-injury rehabilitation programs, school boards and private speech and hearing clinics employ Communicative Disorders Assistants.

The current job market is competitive. Many of our graduates relocate to other cities across and outside of Ontario to find employment.

Here are some agencies where our graduates are working as CDAs:

  • Limestone District School board (Kingston, ON)
  • Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School board (Kingston, ON)
  • KidsInclusive - Kingston Health Sciences Centre (Kingston, ON)
  • Big Words Little People - Private Practice (Kingston, ON)
  • Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (Ottawa, ON)
  • Hello Speech - Private clinic (Toronto, ON)
  • Speech Associates - Private clinic (Ottawa, ON)
  • Launch Behavioural Health - Private clinic (Toronto, ON)
  • St. Joseph's Health Centre - Hospital (Guelph, ON)
  • Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres - (various locations, NS)

Testimonials

""Applying for the Communication Disorder Assistant program has been one of the greatest decisions I’ve made thus far. The educators are considerate, forthcoming and passionate about making an impact on their students lives. The courses are intriguing and will set you up for success in the desired field. I am eternally grateful for all that I’ve learned.""
Nicole Turco
""Immediately after completing the program I was hired for school based intervention, and now years later, I have landed my dream job working primarily with literacy based intervention in a private Speech Therapy practice.""
Danielle Mills

Placement

Conditions of Enrolment in Field Placement:
• Required valid certification in Standard First Aid with CPR BLS/AED, at the student’s expense.

Complete SLC Placement requirements

  • 6 Training Modules
  • Student Declaration/Oath of Confidentiality
  • Student Covid 19 Waiver

Complete agency specific requirements

  • Immunization
  • CPIC - VULNERABLE SECTOR

Questions:

placements@sl.on.ca
Website: http://www.placementatslc.ca/

Students must be prepared to budget for additional costs related to field placements, which may be in communities across Ontario. While every effort is made to arrange for placements in students' preferred or home location, students must be prepared for additional costs associated with relocating to other cities for placement. Please also note that some field placements (notably placements in school boards) require students to have a vehicle. Students must budget for costs related to transportation and out of town accommodation.

Program Contacts

Program Contact
Christiane Haberl, B.Sc. SLP, M.A.D.S.
CHaberl@sl.on.ca
613.544.5400, ext. 1913

Admissions Information
Contact a member of our recruitment team
ask@sl.on.ca
1.800.463.0752 and ask for Recruiting

International Students Contact
international@sl.on.ca
+1 613.544.5400 ext. 5514

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