Communicative Disorders Assistant

Online Campus | Program Code: 1005
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This program will be delivered through Alternate Delivery starting in Fall 2022.

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 Online
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


This course is designed to provide students with clinical skills and theoretical background 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 a sampling of assessment reports, tools, intervention activities, as well as strategies reflective of various treatment approaches. The role of the Communicative Disorders Assistant in implementing program recommendations will be emphasized throughout the course.

This course will provide an introduction to normal and atypical language development in preschool and school aged children. Normal development of language (form, content, use), phonological awareness and literacy (reading and writing and relationship to listening and speaking) will be reviewed. Atypical language development will be explored along with the impact of a language disorder on the child in family and school environments. Students will practice administration of language and phonological awareness screening tools. An overview of intervention approaches for language and phonological awareness and early school-age literacy skills will be provided with an emphasis on the role of the Communicative Disorders Assistant.

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. The course begins with a brief survey of the basic neuro-anatomy involved in normal language function (production and comprehension). The primary focus of the course is on aphasia and the profile of language disorders that occur after stroke and acquired brain injury. Students learn the concepts and practical aspects involved in language and cognitive-communication screening and intervention. The psychosocial impact of neurogenic language disorders and its effect on the client, their 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 + REHA100 + CDAP301 + CDAP310 + PROF300

CDAP 301 is focused on language disorders associated with other diagnoses in preschool and school-age populations. This course will cover a range of intervention approaches for language disorders and associated learning barriers seen in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disabilities, and hearing impairment. Language based learning disabilities and interventions aimed at literacy development in the school-age population will be examined. 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

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 related to field placements. Professional communication skills, including presentation and interpersonal communication skills, as well as interview and resume writing skills, will be explored.

Prerequisite(s): PROF100

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 + 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 concepts discussed in REHA 100, the first part of this course explores typical and atypical language and cognitive changes that occur in the aging adult population. Students learn supportive strategies for people living with dementia. The remainder of the course is focused on acquired motor speech disorders. An overview of basic anatomical structures and processes is provided. Intervention principles and strategies for dysarthria and apraxia of speech are explored along with a brief introduction to the role of the CDA in the area of dysphagia.

Prerequisite(s): CDAP120 + REHA100+ CDAP100

This course will allow students to apply the knowledge and skills gained in their academic courses 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


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.

This is a HIGHLY COMPETITIVE program. To be included in the competitive ranking, applications must be complete including all transcripts and proof of enrollment by February 1. Meeting minimum entrance requirements does not guarantee admissions to the program. Please see the Highly Competitive Program Chart for more details.

Health Requirements

Pre-Placement Immunization Requirements

Immunizations are MANDATORY for this program and can take months to complete.  Both International and domestic students in this program are required to complete the Immunization Communicable Disease Form to be eligible to attend placement.  Without required immunizations and necessary blood work completed, students will NOT be eligible to complete placement, which can affect the ability to graduate.

Note for International students: Fees apply to most vaccines in Canada. You are encouraged to start/complete your Immunization Communicable Disease Form in your home country and bring that documentation to Canada. On arrival at SLC, the SLC Campus Health Centre can also assist you with your requirements.  

Additional Immunization Requirements Students Need to Complete

In addition to the immunization requirements listed in your Program Immunization Communicable Disease Form, students attending clinical placement locations may also be asked to complete the additional vaccinations listed below and provide proof with dated receipts to the agency before they can begin placements.  These are agency-specific and as such, the agency may deny a student access to their location without these completed.

  • Minimally 3 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Annual flu shot (when available)

Once Students Register:

Students will receive instructions on how to begin the immunization process that includes:

Registered students are STRONGLY encouraged to complete information as soon as notified, to avoid any disruption to placement or imposed penalty fees.

Questions regarding immunizations can be emailed to

As an active SLC student, you are automatically enrolled in a student insurance plan. To learn more about how this applies to your immunization requirements please visit (domestic) or (international).

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 checks 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).


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


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 locations, 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 Fees
Ancillary Fees
$4,781.97 CAD
Program Fees
$0.00 CAD
Ancillary Fees
$557.82 CAD
$5,339.79 CAD

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

Program Fees
Ancillary Fees
$26,175.00 CAD
Program Fees
$0.00 CAD
Ancillary Fees
$2,357.85 CAD
$28,532.85 CAD

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)


"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

Program Contacts

Program Contact
Stephanie Ryan
613.544.5400, ext. 1420

Admissions Information
Click here to message Recruitment.

Click here to schedule an appointment with Recruitment.