What is the difference between a Speech and Language Pathologist and a Communicative Disorders Assistant/Speech Language Assistant?

A Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) has a masters degree as well as a bachelors degree whereas the Communicative Disorders Assistant (CDA or Speech and Language Assistant (SL-A)) has a bachelors degree and a CDA certificate. Speech pathologists perfom the assessments, write the goals and perform therapy. CDAs perform the therapy as well as communicating with their supervising SLP about client progress. Speech pathologists by law need to supervise the therapy CDAs provide. CDAs cannot perform therapy without the direct supervision of a SLP. The SLP-CDA relationship is similar to a doctor-nurse relationship.

Are speech and language services covered by OHIP?

Unfortunately not. Some extended health care benefits through your employer do cover speech and language therapy so check your insurance provider. Most clients pay out of pocket.

Do I need a doctor's referral to start speech therapy?

No. Simply call or email us to get the process started.

What is the process?

The process begins once you call us and tell us a little bit about your child. Based on that information a free in-home intake is booked. During the intake I ask the parent(s) questions and play with the child while making observations to pass along to the speech and language pathologist. After looking at the intake and any reports the parents provide, the SLP needs to decide whether or not the child is a good candidate for Communicative Disorders Assistant intervention. If he or she is a good fit to work with the CDA then the initial assessment is booked. The parent(s), child and CDA attend the assessment at the SLP's office in Burlington. The assessment usually lasts one hour and during this time the SLP may use a formal or informal assessment to determine the child's level of functioning in a variety of areas such as language, communication and play skills. A formal assessment is a published test that upon completion gives the child a score which places them on a performance scale. An informal assessment is done through observation. The CDA will often play with the child in such a way that elicits certain responses which helps the SLP to determine what goals to start to focus on. Once the SLP has gathered all the information and scored any formal tests she then writes the goals. Once the CDA receives the goals then therapy with the CDA begins.

After the assessment do we see the Speech Pathologist again?

Yes. A joint session schedule will be recommended by the SLP in order to ensure that your child’s goals are updated on a regular basis. The frequency of joint sessions depends on the child’s progress and degree of need. The joint session schedule will be discussed with you by the SLP. The joint session is comprised of the SLP, CDA, child and the child’s parents/guardians. This is a great opportunity to discuss questions and concerns with the SLP and the CDA.

Is the SLP being updated regularly on my child`s progress?

Yes. The CDA sends the SLP therapy notes after each session and receives feedback on a regular basis ensuring that the child`s progress is being monitored and updated by the SLP regularly.

Do you have a waiting list?

No. From the initial contact to when the CDA receives the goals the entire process takes less than a month depending on client availability to attend the initial assessment.

Where do sessions take place?

CDA sessions can be done in the client`s home or day care (with permission from the day care) or out in the community. All of the materials needed for the session are brought by the CDA.


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