Client Stories

In their own words, individuals and families speak about CAYA

Port Alberni Chat Group

Jonah and Sydney

We are, Sydney, Jonah, Margret and Shea, and we meet every Thursday in Port Alberni. We are Speech Generating Device Users and members of the mid island Cool Communicators, who felt we wanted to meet for chats more often than once a month.

Port Alberni Association for Community Living kindly donated the use of a room for our weekly meeting and our mid-island CAYA team supplied games and ideas and came to the first meeting. That was at the end of October in 2012 and members have all attended since, never wanting to miss out.


At the mid April meeting CAYA staff asked us all why meeting like this was so important to us. Our thoughts:

  • “We learn more about our Vanguards, Vantages and iPads.”
  • “Getting together. is awesome!”
  • “I love to talk to friends and have lunch”
  • “Sharing news is great!”
  • “Playing games helps me find more words on my device”
  • “I feel proud and excited”
  • “I learn so much”
  • “I have a good time”


As the supporters of these young speech device users we agree - but we also have some of our own thoughts. We feel less isolated and gain great support as we learn new things within the group. We accomplish a lot and carry the things we learn into the week’s work with our clients. It is fun and we love to come and support each other. If there is a problem then brainstorming in the group allows us to come to a better solution. We feel we are developing skills, patience and a better understanding of the systems all the clients in Port Alberni use. We always welcome the CAYA team to visit our meeting and have set aside a couple of our future meetings to be Minspeak Training Sessions.

Thanks to CAYA for starting us off and keeping our systems and our education ongoing!

Port Alberni Chat Group: April 2013

Mainvir Gill


Mainvir has been using a Vanguard communication device for several years. For the first while he was able to express his desires using single words and short phrases with his device, but recently he has taken huge steps forward in using his Vanguard. He now speaks in full sentences and has increased his use of vocabulary significantly. Well done Mainvir! He attends a monthly group meeting provided by CAYA. The group, known as Cool Communicators, brings together users of AAC devices for learning, practise and social interactions. He has also just completed a seven week mini-course focusing on understanding and using WordPower. Mainvir also attends the Frederic Ozanam Centre community inclusion program in Victoria, BC. At the Centre he is using his device in two exciting new ways. First he connects his device to a computer in the Centre’s computer lab. This allows him to use the computer to write his own thoughts and stories and to search the internet for info that interests him. Second, he has joined the Ozanam Media Club. This is a small group of Ozanam participants who gather news of what is happen at the Centre and in our community and posts that information on a website and a Facebook page. Mainvir has written a few stories over the last couple of months to let people know what is happening at the Centre and what he enjoys doing. He is doing a fantastic job thinking of information to post and in expressing his thoughts and ideas. His Vanguard really helps with his activities in this area. Check out his work and the work of other club members at on the web or on Facebook at

Here’s what Mainvir has to say about what he has been doing. "I like to work on the computer to listen to music. I like to tell everyone my news. It’s fun to put things on the computer."

April Proudlove

April Proudlove, Victoria BC


My name is April Proudlove. I am 33 years old and live in Victoria. I have cerebral palsy and I am unable to speak. I use a communication device called a Dynawrite to communicate with others. My Dynawrite helps me express my wants and needs quickly and effectively.

Another great thing about my machine is it helps me in my volunteer job and in my paid position. I volunteer at an elementary school where I read with children. Without my communication device I would not be able to help the kids learn. I also use my Dynawrite at my job with CanAssist. I test computer programs and my device helps me complete my duties faster and more efficiently than using a regular keyboard. My Dynawrite helps me feel more confident at home and in the community.

Ashleigh Dukoff


My name is Ashleigh Dukoff. I use a Pathfinder to communicate. Before having a device I used modified sign language to communicate. Many people did not understand me. I felt frustrated as there were many things I wanted to say to my friends. My mom and support staff would help me communicate with my friends.

When I was 15 I got a Deltatalker to communicate. I was 18 when I started to use a Pathfinder. The device helped me to use full sentences and learn grammar. I was then able to speak with everybody without my mom or support staff with me. My communication device allowed me to express who I was, because of this I made good friends. I use my device for the telephone, e-mail, MSN, Facebook and to Skype. I love having my communication device with me at all times because I can talk to my friends all by myself without having my caregivers there.



Since CAYA’s assistance with our daughter Caitlin, we have witnessed her wonderful transformation into a person who communicates and who is beginning to function in the world as a more independent young adult. It has been a privilege for our family to have such dedicated and talented communication team involved with our daughter!

Danielle & JJ

Danielle & JJ

Thank you so much for helping in my recovery after I suffered a massive stroke at age 22. I lost my speech and thanks to CAYA I am so slowly finding ways to communicate with friends and most important out in community. I am gaining confidence which is enabling more independence.

I have a four year old son who was heartbroken and cried because Mommy couldn’t read him a bed time story. CAYA has given me a device that my sister programmed with 3 of his favorite stories to her voice which sounds just like my voice. Bed time story is a joy once again. I push a button and he turns the page.

I carry a wallet with pictures and words of things I like to order at restaurants all have to do is pull it out and my frustration at struggling to tell someone what I need is minimal now. Thank you to my CAYA SLP Leanne for your expertise and caring ways to improve my life.

I also have a communication device with words and symbols which is helping reprogram my brain to remember what was lost. More recognition of words and the ability to say them has definitely come a long way. I still have a long road to go but with help from CAYA I am confident I will continue to improve bit by bit.

Thank you very much

Kimberly F. Small


I want to say a huge 'thank you' to my CAYA SLP Leanne for her attention and her friends at CAYA for bringing me 'Lightwriters' to try. I needed one that would suit my vocabulary and needs with my family, friends and the community.

I am busy making a choice. One thing I really love is the 'word prediction' offer. This is a very important feature I had been missing forever. I will work very hard with it, and get very good at it because it helps me make a good sentence, so I can speak like everyone else.

I am like you now. I am so excited! Thank you CAYA, for helping me have a great understandable voice.

Lauren Tipping


Before my ECO I used my Pathfinder. Before the Pathfinder I talked using my hands but most people did not understand what I was saying. I think it was hard work using my hands to talk and it made me feel frustrated.

I like my ECO because I can talk to my friends by myself. I use my ECO to talk on MSN, Facebook, and e-mail. I also like to play games with my friends and my ECO helps me talk about the game.

Every month I go to Cool Communicators on Friday to see my friends who use communication devices to talk. I like seeing people like me use communication devices. I like going to Cool Communicators. I like my ECO because it has my daytimer and I can see what I am doing with pictures.

Thank you CAYA for helping me with my ECO

Scott Wilson


My name is Scott Wilson. I am 32 years old. In 1993 I was 16 and a passenger in a car accident that resulted in a severe brain injury. I was in coma for a number of weeks and when I woke up I had to relearn everything, from swallowing to walking and talking. Eventually, I was well enough to go to rehab and then go home. I had a problem with vocabulary retrieval ( I knew what I wanted to say but couldn’t find the correct words) but could speak and write. After a year I was able to return to school and finish my grade 11 and 12.

Over the next 14 years with a lot of work and with the help of therapists, friends and family I was able to achieve 2 or my 3 goals. My goals were to work in the family business, move out and live on my own and get my driver’s licence.

In August of 2006 I bought my first apartment and moved in on my own. I also returned to work part time and was living independently for the first time. The following year I started a new program that involved new medication. Unfortunately, it didn’t agree with my body and I collapsed at home and was found by a friend in a coma.

Again I was in a coma for many weeks, when I became conscious this time to my horror I found I couldn’t speak, write, walk or swallow. I knew what I wanted to say but could not get the words out. I had to relearn everything. When I was well enough to be transferred to GF Strong I started a rehab program that involved speech, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. Unfortunately I fell and broke my hip, this was a long time being diagnosed as I couldn’t express my pain well enough. Because I could not speak or write I found it extremely frustrating and depressing and learned to communicate with the aid of an alphabet board. This was a great tool but very slow and I could only address 1 person at a time and they had to be able to read what I was trying to say.

A speech therapist Anne put my name forward for a computerized device, however, I did not qualify at that time as I was too old for the program. Through the efforts of CAYA and GF Strong I went to Victoria with a group of people from CAYA to address a group of MLAs and their associates. We were successful in getting the age limited increased and I was given a “Lightwriter” I found this great and easy to use and with the help of the CAYA program got the support I needed to learn how to use it and how to program it to suit my needs.

This was a real breakthrough for me. I could be part of group conversations and also speak for myself in restaurants, stores and over the telephone. Because I could pre-program a lot of everyday phrases I was able to speed up my part of conversations. This helped me build up my confidence in being around groups and people I didn’t know well.

My speech is slowly coming back but I feel that it was helped immensely by the ability to use the device and participate in aphasia groups with the support of therapists and people from CAYA. This was not available in 1993 and I really appreciate it now and feel it was very instrumental in helping me toward my recovery.

Tyson Aubin


My name is Tyson Aubin. I have been using a communication device since my second year in pre-school. I don’t know how I would have got through school without one. I graduated last year. I am very happy I still have my [communication device]. Since then I have travelled and visited with friends and family I don’t see too often. I have been looking for a job and taking some classes to help me find work. I also volunteer at my community Arts Center Theatre as a Host. I have met new friends at coffee houses and Chat Rooms and I just enjoy chilling out with my friends and family and talking with old friends on Facebook. Having my Pathfinder [communication device] makes all of this possible. I still have a lot to learn with my device to get better and faster at communicating. I work at it every day. I have to take more classes to keep getting better. I am glad CAYA has been here to get me in the Chat Group and give me help and fix my device. Thank you CAYA!



Hi! My name is Rafael, and I'm a 22 year old guy who loves cars, biking, and playing basketball! I'm really active and I love to do work experience in the community, so my Palm Top is really handy when I'm out and about.

Here I am getting work experience washing cars at Dueck on Marine...

... And helping out around Sunshine Hills golf course.

I mostly rely on my words, hand gestures, and role playing to communicate. But, that isn't always enough to get my points across so it's nice to have my palm top around to help me.

The palm top is handy because I can bring it around anywhere. Ultimately, I hope to master the palm top and use it to help me meet, and communicate with new people!