CAYA News 2009

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October is AAC month

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In October, 2009, members of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) in 14 countries around the world (including Canada) will participate in events to spread awareness about the importance of providing people who are unable to speak or write with communication supports such as talking computers, books and boards with pictures or letters, and sign language. Some individuals need to use AAC because they are born with disabilities such as cerebral palsy. Others acquire disabilities when they are older because they have an accident such as a spinal cord injury or an illness such as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Regardless, people who use AAC are able to go to school, work, get married, have children, and becoming contributing members of society when they have access to appropriate communication services and supports.

Making the case for AAC service for older adults

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CAYA has worked in cooperation with the International Society for AAC – Canada (ISAAC-Canada) and the BCITS to produce a video highlighting the AAC needs of older adults. Speaking of Adults Speaking is a 15 minute video describing the journey to independent communication for 4 adults over the current CAYA eligibility age. The video includes key demographic and costing statistics of a comprehensive program for adults of all ages in BC. Speaking of Adults Speaking has been viewed by a wide range of audiences from elected officials to interested members of the public.

Getting the word out

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Supports for people in the disability community in BC are not integrated. Day programs, group homes, and other programs that support non-speaking people are managed by highly motivated individuals who are often working in isolation. In addition, individuals with severe communication disabilities have often abandoned any hope of receiving assistance with their communication.

These factors make it difficult to spread the word that a new program is available. CAYA staff has spent considerable time and energy to inform all who might be interested in the availability of the service. As CAYA continues to exist from year to year and more people receive communication assistance, individuals in need and their caregivers are beginning to realize that CAYA is not just a temporary program.

Indeed, recent trends in the receipt of Service Requests suggests that the word is now getting out and more people with severe communication disabilities are stepping forward and requesting assistance to communicate independently.

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